Part of what drives a technology business like ours is the activity – often times frantic. However, as we approach the end of the year, I like to step back and take some time to think about what comes next. For me, that starts with a look at technology trends; where we have been, where we are today, and where we are going. As I started to gather my thoughts, I thought it would be useful to share them with the extended Kaminario community. I’ve broken up my thoughts into a three part series, here’s part 1:
Virtualization, A Look Back
What happened over the last 15 years or so began with the emergence of virtualization. It ushered in the era of on-demand resource allocation – being able to provision servers as the need arose. It also eliminated the need to be tied down by physical resources – allowing IT to move workloads based on business and application requirements. Virtualization is the foundation of the extreme IT flexibility that organizations now need, enjoy and leverage.
Virtualization introduced the idea of provisioning logical resources without regard for the underlying physical infrastructure. However, for the first decade this was mostly around compute – processing power. In recent years, virtualization has expanded to include networking and storage. A significant catalyst for finally having that broader scope came with the advent of the cloud. The emergence of public cloud as a consumption option for data center infrastructure paved the way. Now, all the compute, network and storage resources needed for any application could be made available on-demand. However, a gap emerged very quickly. There was no easy way to mimic public cloud capabilities privately.
Public cloud was a great first step, but organizations quickly started uncovering major hurdles – lack of security, massively escalating costs, and vendor lock-in to name a few. Cost optimization is essential, and legislation has an impact that dictates how and where data can be stored. Often times, enterprises need to keep data within certain geographic boundaries. As a result of these factors, several organizations started building out their own private cloud solutions – to continue leveraging the technical flexibility and economics of a cloud-like consumption model. These private clouds needed to be easy to: operate, maintain, manage and scale based on business requirements. A key requirement in building such a solution for enterprises is to partner with the right technology vendors – vendors who are software defined, leverage industry standard hardware to run their software and offer consumption based pricing.
Fast forward to today, several public cloud providers expanded their offerings – expanding availability zones, offering multiple pricing tiers and making it easy to migrate data from one cloud infrastructure to another. This has led to the rise of the hybrid cloud strategy. Mission critical workloads such as transaction processing, analytics and business intelligence are often run on the private cloud; while workloads such as testing/development, backup and disaster recovery are run on public cloud solutions.
All of these technology advances have been made possible thanks to Virtualization.
The Role of Storage
When I put on my Kaminario hat and think about storage…the first thought that comes to mind is that enterprise storage has historically been sold as large pre-integrated appliance with lots of capacity and the expectation it will last for certain period of time, after which you would go out and purchase a new appliance. Organizations would estimate the storage capacity needed over the life of the array at the outset, however much of the capacity remained paid-for-but-empty until year two or three, or maybe it was just insurance and never used at all. That made the entire endeavor very expensive. And it certainly didn’t deliver the speed, flexibility, and ease of use offered by the public cloud.
To successfully achieve their cloud strategies, organizations needed a new approach to storage.
We’ll talk about that in Part II: Experimentation and Discovery.