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
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
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
How do you keep the human element in tech?
Trying to prevent user problems is the primary job of user experience design teams at technology firms. Among the unsung heroes of tech, design teams are responsible for generating intuitive user interfaces. Lost in that purgatory between social and hard sciences, design teams balance observation and human needs with technology to realize that all important customer experience that contributes to product adoption and success.
Human error still accounts for the majority of unplanned outages in the data center. A Gartner study I cited in a recent blog post states that 80% of the outages impacting mission-critical services are expected to be caused by people and process issues.
Good user design involves subject matter experts, site visits and contextual inquiries, and personas. While good design alone will not eliminate fat-fingering keys, it can minimize human errors. The fact that we are all now conditioned by our experiences with personal gadgets such as mobile devices cause expectations to run high for what we deem acceptable interfaces in the workplace. Continue reading
Is platform-as-a-service (PaaS) relevant to the enterprise?
Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) offers small organizations compute, network, and storage resources on par with the IT capabilities afforded previously to only larger, well-capitalized organizations. Now, PaaS has the potential of taking this IT on-demand concept a step further with applications and services.
IaaS was first popularized by Amazon Web Services (AWS). The startup community embraced the model where no upfront capital expenditure was required, and IT burden was significantly reduced because IaaS provided both infrastructure and operations management for a fee. This model gave startups, and larger enterprises alike, a much faster time to market than building out infrastructure themselves.
Since being introduced, IaaS has gone mainstream in enterprise organizations. EMC itself is 92% virtualized and provides IaaS to its internal customers.
Following a similar course taken by IaaS, PaaS is currently available on the fringe of enterprises from providers like Heroku and CloudBees, as well as more established providers like Google App Engine and Microsoft Azure. Like IaaS before, PaaS could gain significance as the offerings mature and enterprises get savvy to the benefits of this platform model. Continue reading