Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, John Rauser, Stackify Blog, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Building the Hydra - Array Virtualization Is Not File Virtualization

There is more to life than is visible to your array

Hydra

So I’m jealous that Lori works D&D references into her posts regularly and I never have… Until today! For those who aren’t gamers or literary buffs, a Hydra is a big serpent or lizard with a variable number of heads  (normally five to nine in both literature and gaming). They’re very powerful and very dangerous, and running into one unprepared is likely to get you p0wned. The worst part about them is that mythologically speaking, if you cut one of the heads off, two grow in its place. Ugly stuff if you’re determined to defeat it.

That’s the way I see array-based file virtualization and other tack-on functionality. Vendors who are implementing it (many of whom are F5 partners), try to tell you that they’re unifying everything and the world is a wonderful place with greener grass and more smiling children due to their efforts. And they’re right…If you’re a homogenous shop with nothing but their storage gear. Then their multi-headed hydra looks pretty appealing. Everyone else feels like it only does a part of the job and is wary of getting too close.

For the rest of us there are products like ARX to take care of that nasty truth that no organization is an all-one-vendor shop, particularly not in the NAS space, where higher end gear can cost hundreds of thousands while entry level is a commodity server with a thousand bucks worth of disk slapped into it. In fact, I have never seen an IT department that was all one vendor for NAS, and that’s the problem with single-vendor messaging. Sure they can give you a handle on their stuff, help you virtualize it, give you a unified directory structure, automate tiering, but what about that line where their box ends and the rest of the organization begins? That’s the demarcation line where you have to find other products to do the job.

Picture from Pantheon.org


A TALE OF WEAL, OR WOE?

This has always been true in storage. Unlike the rest of IT infrastructure, the storage industry, the big iron vendors, have never felt compelled to see to the best interests of the customer where interoperability is concerned. While “vendor lock-in” was not invented in storage, it is certainly heard a lot more in reference to storage than most other spaces, and that’s too bad. Well, I’d say it was too bad, but truth be told that has left room for third party vendors to grow and thrive between the arrays. Acopia was one of those companies, and we snatched them up a few years ago to make the core of our Data Solutions Group. There are plenty of other third parties able to answer your needs both in virtualization and in the array of other problems (pun intended) that are not readily resolved with single-vendor solutions.

I’m really very happy to see storage vendors starting to provide unified interfaces to SAN/NAS/iSCSI SAN devices, I admit a bit of disappointment that “made by us” is nearly universally tacked onto the end. Maybe that’s for the best though, how much functionality do you want to stuff into your arrays? This debate has raged in the past and will in the future in storage – how much software should an array run or NAS head, or whatever your vendor calls their storage device run? Vendors (possibly correctly) point out that if they include the software, customers use it – even if it’s for-pay – and thus they’re offering a needed service. I contend that software on an array vendor’s hardware box is less likely (in the storage space) to support their competitor’s hardware, and thus putting that functionality elsewhere is a more comprehensive solution.

And the debate will continue to rage in storage - Best of Breed or integrated solutions, which is better?  Check back next week for comments from our partners no doubt. Which are of course welcome, I certainly don’t want to put words in their mouths. Most enterprises I know of shrug at the differences and ask “what is best for our problem”, but still, the debate goes on, trying to convince said organizations that one or the other is best in any given solution.

Every time some functionality fails to catch on in-array, like a hydra, two new bits spring up to take its place. Right now we’re in that stage where things are springing up. Lots of them. Some of them – like at-rest deduplication - are perfectly suited to single vendor implementation, some – like file virtualization - are really not, since complete file virtualization is a larger problem than one array or one vendors’ arrays.


REPLICATION – FEED THE BEAST?

One of the interesting bits is replication. I’m going to say something that others are less likely to. If you are replicating for total DC replacement, then go with a vendor solution, array to array. By way of disclaimer, we have a product – WOM – that can speed up array to array replication, but it can speed up a whole lot of DC to DC communications, so it does not play into this statement. What does play into this statement is my belief that if you are replicating for DR/redundancy, then you should mirror the site in more than just data and structure. If your replicated DC is going to take over in the case of an emergency, then you want it to be familiar enough that your staff is focused on getting it up and on-line in an environment that doesn’t leave them more stressed than they are naturally going to be in such a situation. If you’ve already dropped to a redundant data center, then you don’t want your staff making mistakes simply based upon the fact that the environment changed on them. It’s a personal opinion, but I think it makes sense, if the cost differential isn’t too insane, and most high-end vendors will cut you a deal for redundant data center installs.


QUESTIONS, RESEARCH, ANSWERS. Shield, Helm, Spear

So use caution when approaching the Hydra. There are two valid questions that you can use like Iolaus’ torch to guard you – will this solution solve the entire problem, and are we willing to increase our binding to this vendor by the amount this solution will require. If the answer to both is yes, feed the hydra, if not, use the torch to find a better solution for your organization. Though it is true that you, like Hercules, will not likely receive accolades for your actions, you will know that you’re doing the right thing for your employer, and that’s the key to a good night’s sleep.

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...