Welcome!

Containers Expo Blog Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Nate Vickery

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

If Hardware Is Commodity... By @DMacVittie | @CloudExpo #Cloud

It makes me wonder, why is it that we spend so arbitrarily much time and money on hardware?

If Hardware is Commodity... Why Are We Still Spending so Much Time on It?

We really are moving in the direction of truly commoditized hardware. Some uses will always have specific requirements that are not mainstream and thus will require specialized builds; this is true in every industry. But increasingly, who made your hardware and where they got their parts from is a secondary issue.

Which makes one consider what really sells hardware these days. Years ago when I was working for Network Computing, I reviewed a low-end blade server company capable of cranking up blades at a fraction of the cost of most vendors. They (like far too many good companies) ran out of money before they could grab market traction, but they did show that it could be done at a price even small enterprises could afford.

The cycle in hardware has traditionally been “CPU bottleneck” goes to “Disk bottleneck” goes to “Network bottleneck”. As each is resolved (not necessarily in that order), the next becomes the stumbling block, then we start over again. This is still somewhat true, but an amazing thing happened along the way. We started having more hardware power than software was using. In the nineties I heard a quote from a hardware engineer that was “It doesn’t matter how fast we make it, the software boys will just piss it away”. And that definitely sounded true at the time. But here we are now, and hardware has improved at a faster pace than software has consumed it, except in the areas of Big Data, cloud, and virtualization… and even those are often under-utilized.

And conveniently, prices have continued their downward trend. For a project I’m working on, I recently bought an enterprise-class (SuperMicro) server. The server has a MegaRAID card, four 1TB disks, 16GB of memory, and four CPUs. Total cost: less than $2,000 USD. Sure, there is more to a datacenter than just dropping a bunch of servers in, but considering that you can throw together an OpenStack cloud that is usable for more than testing with four or five of these servers, it’s pretty impressive. And since the premium for the big name vendors is not that high – 30% or so – it does make one pause.

It makes me wonder, why is it that we spend so arbitrarily much time and money on hardware? We really do. The poster child would probably be Cisco UCS, which is really expensive, but it also offers a ton of functionality, so for those who can afford UCS setups, it’s likely worth it.  Except that it requires specialized knowledge. Which is exactly the opposite direction from where everything else is going.

The same is true of the current round of other blade servers. Instead of attempting to make life simpler, they have “added value” by adding complexity. Yes, a ton of the added details are sweet, but I’m a developer at heart, it seems overkill to me unless you’re terribly short of rack space and need the little bit of space that blade servers can give you back (assuming the blade server is full anyway).

So what am I getting at? It might just be time to consider white-boxing a project. Think of it this way, it all works the same at the basic level that white boxes operate at. Operators know how to configure a white-box, because they have to configure the same things – RAID, networking, OS – on any system they install. There is, by definition, nothing unique to white boxes.

And between RAID and the redundancy possibilities with reduced prices, it is every bit as safe as buying that big name brand. Of course, “same day service” with white boxes is “if you take care of it”, but if that is a problem for you, buy it through your VAR, and have them give you same day service. It’s worth the time though to analyze the ROI on those maintenance fees you’ve been paying out. And you can always buy an extra white box to use as a stand-by without coming anywhere near the price of the big names

Let’s face it, we all just want functional systems. I don’t want to have to jerk around with hardware or VMs just to write some code (Docker and Vagrant are appealing to me in that regard), and business people don’t want to have to pay any more than they have to. Somewhere in between those two needs is a white-box project waiting to happen. Dropping a provisioning tool like Stacki onto them means they’ll even be live faster than your average big name deployment.

Not all projects are white-box. They’ve come a long way, and some would advocate moving your entire org to them… But you know me, I’m a fan of letting you decide what’s best for your org, rather than trying to tell you. Because a pundit like me just knows what looks best for me without knowledge of your environment.

And that mission-critical, 24×365 system? You might just want it on name brand hardware. Not because you’re certain it’s better, but because you want to sleep at night, which has a value all its own.

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
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the USA and Europe, we work with a variety of customers from emerging startups to Fortune 1000 companies.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 add...
The age of Digital Disruption is evolving into the next era – Digital Cohesion, an age in which applications securely self-assemble and deliver predictive services that continuously adapt to user behavior. Information from devices, sensors and applications around us will drive services seamlessly across mobile and fixed devices/infrastructure. This evolution is happening now in software defined services and secure networking. Four key drivers – Performance, Economics, Interoperability and Trust ...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...