How The Data Center Is Becoming Software-Defined

Mark Prahl

Mark Prahl

How pervasive is the concept of software-defined?

In mid 2012 VMware CTO Steve Herrod and others began to articulate the concept of the software-defined data center. This concept was just as often received as a marketing position from vendors as an observation about the evolution of the data center. At the time, I blogged about the basic concepts of the software-defined data center and followed-up the initial post with an additional blog posts about storage challenges in the software-defined data center. Other posts addressed related topics such as how cloud adoption contributes to the evolution of APIs.

Now, since many months have passed, which can be measured in dog years in high-tech, I would like to revisit the concept of software-defined as it pertains to storage as well as compute and networking, and its status in 2013. I believe that the software-defined data center has moved beyond concept, putting us on the cusp of a time when new architectures and product offerings will make it a reality. Continue reading

EMC Data Protection Advisor For As-A-Service Cloud Environments

Mark Prahl

Mark Prahl

What can you do to ensure data protection as you move to cloud?

Services-based storage, infrastructure, and data protection trends and technologies are recurring topics in this blog. Awhile back I wrote a post about enabling data protection as-a-service discussing the need for centralized management at cloud-scale, multiple service rates based on customer data protection needs or usage, and historical data for analysis and trending. The reality is that you can only get so far with legacy products built for physical environments. At some point, management tools, like the data center environments they support, need to be remade to the requirements of the day. Effective data protection solutions are no exception.

Data protection needs are more acute for as-a-service cloud models and require new approaches. Now, with the release of EMC Data Protection Advisor 6.0, I would like to share what it means to augment a successful data protection solution and extend it with a new distributed architecture and analysis engine to cloud deployments, without losing any usability benefits (i.e. without making it complex). Continue reading

Keeping The Lights On In An SAP Environment

Mark Prahl

Mark Prahl

How do you keep your SAP costs under control in the modern data center?

As much as vendors like to think you spend all of your time planning architectural changes and your next purchase, the reality is more mundane. Mostly, data center personnel work around the clock to keep the lights on and business processes operational and fine-tuned to meet required service-level agreements (SLAs).

Keeping business processes operating at peak performance includes keeping mission-critical applications with their dependencies in good working order. Service-assurance for key applications such as SAP involves trained skilled staff, up-to-date database technologies, well-equipped test/dev environments, and effective data protection schemes. Maintaining service-levels thus costs money, which is not always plentiful.

Taking the right approach to data protection can not only ensure application availability but also keep personnel and licensing costs reasonable. Fortunately, for SAP environments, there is an approach that works well for physical and virtual environments today. So, in a brief departure from discussing the Software-Defined Data Center and clouds, this post focuses on keeping the data center lights on in SAP environments. Continue reading

EMC VMAX Cloud Edition Speeds Storage Service Delivery

Mark Prahl

Mark Prahl

What if you could get proven enterprise-class storage in cloud-ready configurations?

IT infrastructure is acquired to meet the demands of the business it supports. For years the approach has been either turnkey involving mostly the purchase of server resources to support specific applications augmented by storage or a la carte with IT purchasing compute, networking, and storage technology from preferred vendors to launch new applications.

More recently, the time-to-market for new applications and services has shrunk, driving organizations to new ways to acquire and deploy complex technologies to meet accelerated delivery needs. For the cloud era, EMC has adapted its industry-leading Symmetrix VMAX to meet a storage consumption need for high-performance, enterprise cloud storage on-demand. 

Today, EMC introduced VMAX Cloud Edition: a self-service, enterprise-class cloud storage delivery platform that accelerates time-to-value for enterprises and service providers building private, hybrid, or public clouds. VMAX Cloud Edition applies the single-SKU approach to infrastructure to provide predefined storage service-levels for customers that require a multi-tenant, “as-a-service” delivery platform. EMC VMAX Cloud Edition provides pre-packaged classes-of-services with predictable performance at predictable price-points. Continue reading

Service Providers’ Role In Providing Higher Value Services

Mark Prahl

Mark Prahl

Service providers or carriers own the network infrastructure that supports the Internet, and are well-positioned for cloud computing. I addressed some of the opportunities and challenges service providers face in an earlier post about carriers and clouds. Interestingly, though these businesses have a service-orientation in the front-office, they still have a network operations mindset in the back-office shaped by years of focusing on call completions, tariffs, and a corresponding revenue model. Some service providers offer infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and storage-as-a-service (STaaS), for example, but it’s really only outsourced resources instead of a cloud services model.

Telecommunication service providers look at cloud service providers including IaaS suppliers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers like Google App Engine, and recognize opportunities to leverage their core competencies and networks for new services. To realize these opportunities, however, service providers need to think and act differently to take advantage of cloud computing and compete in the cloud market. Continue reading