Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Amit Gupta

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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, 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. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CAST Software 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. CAST was founded more than 25 years ago to make the invisible visible. Built around the idea that even the best analytics on the market still leave blind spots for technical teams looking to deliver better software and prevent outages, CAST provides the software intelligence that matter ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion 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. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion 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. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion 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. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SourceForge has been named “Media Sponsor” of 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. SourceForge is the largest, most trusted destination for Open Source Software development, collaboration, discovery and download on the web serving over 32 million viewers, 150 million downloads and over 460,000 active development projects each and every month.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies 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. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion 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. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks, that helps your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions, has been named "Exhibitor" of 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. As a premier telecommunications provider, Massive Networks is headquartered out of Louisville, Colorado. With years of experience under their belt, their team of...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, 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. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
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.
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, will discuss how from store operations...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...