|By Don MacVittie||
|June 22, 2011 09:15 AM EDT||
There’s a whole lot of talk about cloud revolutionizing IT, and a whole lot of argument about public versus private cloud, even a considerable amount of talk about what belongs in the cloud. But not much talk about helping you determine what applications and storage are a good candidate to move there – considering all of the angles that matter to IT. This blog will focus on storage, the next one on applications, because I don’t want to bury you in a blog as long as a feature length article.
It amazes me when I see comments like “no one needs a datacenter” while the definition of what, exactly, cloud is still carries the weight of debate. For the purposes of this blog, we will limit the definition of cloud to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – VM containers and the things to support them, or Storage containers and the things to support them. My reasoning is simple, in that the only other big category of “cloud” at the moment is SaaS, and since SaaS has been around for about a decade, you should already have a decision making process for outsourcing a given application to such a service. Salesforce.com and Google Docs are examples of what is filtered out by saying “SaaS is a different beast”. Hosting services and CDNs are a chunk of the market, but increasingly they are starting to look like IaaS, as they add functionality to meet the demands of their IT customers. So we’ll focus on the “new and shiny” aspects of cloud that have picked up a level of mainstream support.
Cloud Storage is here, and seems to be pretty ready for prime-time if you stick with the major providers. That’s good news, since instability in such a young market could spell its doom. The biggest problem with cloud storage is the fact that it is implemented as SOAP calls in almost every large provider. This was an architectural decision that had to be made, but between CIFS, NFS, iSCSI, and FCoE, it wasn’t necessary to choose a web service interface, so I’m unsure why nearly all vendors did. Conveniently, nearly immediately after it was clear the enterprise needed cloud storage to look like all the other storage in their datacenters, cloud storage gateways hit the market. In most cases these were brand new products by brand new companies, but some, like our ARX Cloud Extender, are additions to existing storage products that help leverage both internal and external assets. Utilizing a cloud storage gateway allows you to treat cloud storage like NAS or SAN disk (depending upon the gateway and cloud provider), which really opens it up to whatever use you need to make of the storage within your enterprise.
Generally speaking, WAN communications are slower than LAN communications. You can concoct situations where the LAN is slower, but most of us definitely do not live in those worlds. While compression and deduplication of data going over the WAN can help, it is best to assume that storage in the cloud will have slower access times than anything but tape sitting in your datacenter.
Also, if you’re going to be storing data on the public Internet, it needs to be protected from prying eyes. Once it leaves your building, there are so many places/ways it can be viewed, that the only real option is to encrypt on the way out. Products like ARX Cloud Extender take care of that for you, check with your cloud storage gateway vendor though to be certain they do the same. If they do not, an encryption engine will have to be installed to take care of encryption before sending out of the datacenter. If you end up having to do this, be aware that encryption can have huge impacts on compression and deduplication, because it changes the bytes themselves. Purchasing a gateway that does both makes order of operations work correctly – dedupe, then compress, then encrypt (assuming it supports all three).
With that said, utilizing compression, TCP optimizations, and deduplication will reduce the performance hit to manageable levels, and encryption mitigates the data-in-flight security risk going to the cloud, and the data-at-rest security risk while stored in the cloud. Between the two, it makes cloud storage appealing – or at least usable.
Our criteria then become pretty straight-forward… We want to send data to the cloud that either has no access time constraints (eg: can be slower to open), or will be faster than existing technology.These criteria leave you a couple of solid options for piloting cloud storage usage.
1. Backups or Archival Storage. They’re stored off-site, they’re encrypted, and even though they’re slower than LAN-based backups, they’re still disk to disk (D2D), so they’re faster backing up, and much faster for selective restores than tape libraries. If you already have a D2D solution in-house, this may be less appealing, but getting a copy into the cloud means that one major disaster can’t take out your primary datacenter and its backups.
2. Infrequently Accessed or Low Priority Storage. All that chaff that comes along with the goldmine of unstructured data in your organization is kept, because you will need some of it again some day, and IT is not in a position to predict which files you will need. By setting up a cloud storage Share or LUN that you use tiering or some other mechanism to direct those files to, the files are saved, but they’re not chewing up local disk. That increases available disk in the datacenter, but keeps the files available in much the same manner as archival storage. Implemented in conjunction with Directory Virtualization, the movement of these files can be invisible to the end users, as they will still appear in the same place in the global directory, but will physically be moved to the cloud if they are infrequently accessed.
Cloud storage is no more a panacea than any other technical solution, there’s just some stuff that should not be moved to the cloud today, perhaps not ever.
1. Access time sensitive files. Don’t put your database files in the cloud (though you might check out Microsoft Azure or Oracle’s equivalent offering). You won’t like the results. Remember, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
2. Data Critical to Business Continuity. Let’s face it, one major blow that takes out your WAN connection takes out your ability to access what’s stored in the cloud. So be careful that data needed for normal operation of the business is not off-site. It’s bad enough if access to the Internet is down, and public websites running on datacenter servers are inaccessible, but to have those files critical to the business – be it phone orders, customer support, whatever – must be available if the business is keeping its doors open. Redundant WAN connections can mitigate this issue (with a pricetag of course), but even those are not proof against all eventualities that impact only your Internet connectivity.
With cloud storage gateways and directory virtualization, there are definite “win” points for the use of cloud storage. Without directory virtualization, there are still some definite scenarios that will improve your storage architecture without breaking your back implementing them. Without a cloud storage gateway, most cloud storage is essentially useless to enterprise IT (other than AppDev) because none of your architecture knows how to make use of web services APIs.
But if you implement a cloud storage gateway, and choose wisely, you can save more in storage upgrades than the cost of the cloud storage. This is certainly true when you would have to upgrade local storage, and cloud storage just grows a little with a commensurate monthly fee. Since fee schedules and even what is charged for (bytes in/out, bytes at rest, phase of the moon) change over time, check with your preferred vendor to make certain cloud is the best option for your scenario, but remember that deploying a directory virtualization tool will increase utilization and tiering can help remove data from expensive tier one disk, possibly decreasing one of your most expensive architectural needs – the fast disk upgrade.
Next time we’ll look at applications from a general IT perspective, and I’m seriously considering extending this to a third blog discussing AppDev and the cloud.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Oct. 26, 2016 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,101
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
Oct. 26, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,378
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
Oct. 26, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,995
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 8,543
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service.
Oct. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,158
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss 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 a...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 560
OnProcess Technology has announced it will be a featured speaker at @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1 - 3, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Dan Gettens, OnProcess’ Chief Analytics Officer, will discuss how Internet of Things (IoT) data can be leveraged to predict product failures, improve uptime and slash costly inventory stock. @ThingsExpo is an annual gathering of IoT and cloud developers, practitioners and thought-leaders who exchange ideas and insights on topics ranging from Big Data in...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 377
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cemware will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Use MATLAB functions by just visiting website mathfreeon.com. MATLAB compatible, freely usable, online platform services. As of October 2016, 80,000 users from 180 countries are enjoying our platform service.
Oct. 26, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 924
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Oct. 26, 2016 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,950
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,594
SYS-CON Events announced today that StarNet Communications will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. StarNet Communications’ FastX is the industry first cloud-based remote X Windows emulator. Using standard Web browsers (FireFox, Chrome, Safari, etc.) users from around the world gain highly secure access to applications and data hosted on Linux-based servers in a central data center. ...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,226
SYS-CON Events announced today that eCube Systems, the leading provider of modern development tools and best practices for Continuous Integration on OpenVMS, will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. eCube Systems offers a family of middleware products and development tools that maximize return on technology investment by leveraging existing technical equity to meet evolving business needs. ...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,619
More and more companies are looking to microservices as an architectural pattern for breaking apart applications into more manageable pieces so that agile teams can deliver new features quicker and more effectively. What this pattern has done more than anything to date is spark organizational transformations, setting the foundation for future application development. In practice, however, there are a number of considerations to make that go beyond simply “build, ship, and run,” which changes ho...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,550
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
Oct. 26, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,888
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
Oct. 26, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,885