The need of businesses for greater responsiveness from their IT departments is driving data center automation. Data center automation requires a new approach to network architecture that results in networks that are flat for high performance, multipath for high availability, and open to orchestration for quick provisioning and re-provisioning as application loads move within and among data centers.
A question that gets raised almost every time that DCIG releases a Buyer’s Guide is, “Why are performance metrics not included in the Guide or considered in its evaluation of the products?” While DCIG has answered this question in various ways and in a number of forums over the last few years, we thought it appropriate to aggregate those randomly posted responses into a more definitive blog entry to address this particular question as it inevitably comes up.
I have disclosed the blog entries that have earned an honorable mention on DCIG’s website for the number of page views they received in 2012. I have also already revealed the Top 5 blog entries written in 2012 that were the most frequently read in 2012. So it is time today to begin to reveal the Top 10 most frequently viewed blog entries on DCIG’s website in 2012 regardless of what year they were published, starting with numbers 6 – 10.
Over the last five (5) years Dell has invested around $10 billion to acquire a far ranging set of hardware and software companies to include Compellent, EqualLogic, ExaNet, Ocarina, Quest, SonicWALL and others in an effort to transform itself into an enterprise solutions provider. These acquisitions now made, people are beginning to rightfully ask of CEO Michael Dell, “When exactly can end-users expect to see an integrated end-to-end data center solution that is based on these acquisitions?” The precise answer to that question still eludes even him.
At this fall’s Storage Networking World (SNW) 2012 I purposely kept my briefings and attendance at the keynote events to a minimum so I could catch up with a number of industry insiders and engineers in the field to get an unofficial look at the current state of the storage industry that rarely gets publicly reported. What I learned was that many commonly held perceptions about the storage industry may be in fact on shaky ground and should prompt users to closely examine their current and future storage plans.
As DCIG makes its final preparations for the release of its inaugural Purpose-Built Flash Memory Appliance Buyer’s Guide, we have had a number of conversations internally about what the criteria for product inclusion and exclusion in this Buyer’s Guide will be. As we do so, our conversation almost always turns to ways in which these purpose-built flash memory appliances will impact organizations and their decision making and buying habits.
In the week that has passed since VMworld 2012 ended, I have had some time to contemplate the best technologies announced or on display at the show. In reflecting on what I saw at the show and while constructing my short list of what I considered the “Top Two,” it struck me that the premise upon which many of these technologies are based has changed. They are less about filling the gaps that VMware vSphere leaves. Instead they focus on capitalizing on the vSphere platform that VMware has built.
When I attended my first VMworld a few years ago the excitement at the event was palpable. One could almost hardly wait until the opening keynote or to go to another breakout session because everyone innately sensed that whatever they thought they knew about how computer and/or data management was done could change dramatically as a result of attending yet another session and you dared not miss it. Fortunately or unfortunately, that experience changed at this year’s VMworld 2012 as its “Right Here, Right Now” theme implied.
Once the term “virtualization” overcame the stigma of being “evil”, VMware was arguably the largest beneficiary of the corporate transition from the physical world to the virtual one. But as competing hypervisor platforms from Citrix, Microsoft and Red Hat mature, VMware finds its status as king of the virtualization hill under assault with storage vendors publicly sharing they are seeing more customers implementing multi-hypervisor environments. Never one to be put on the defensive, VMware has since moved beyond being a “virtualization-only” provider and is positioning itself in a broader context: A software management solutions provider that can help bring about an end to the schizophrenic state of corporations.
Today is the last business day of 2011 and with it DCIG brings you our top most read and referenced blog entries. Each blog entry is compelling, yet timeless. What we find ironic about these blogs is that even as topics like “cloud,” “deduplication,” and “virtualization” generate a great deal of buzz, simple blog entries on storage, backup and data center labeling outperform them due to their foundations for IT leaders and practitioners.
Early in October I wrote a somewhat disparaging blog entry about my initial impressions of the iPad that I had just purchased. Since then my perceptions and opinions about the iPad have changed significantly. The most notable change has been in my understanding of what problems the iPad was designed to solve. Rather than it being designed as a product to generate information, it is designed to consume and manipulate it.
Over the past few months my wife and I have contemplated the purchase of some type of tablet (either an Android or iPad.) It was only after a great deal of debate and a fair amount of research that we finally broke down and purchased one opting for the iPad. But after only a few weeks of owning it, I already find myself using it very rarely and having a bit of buyer’s remorse because while it is really cool toy, it remains exactly that: a really cool toy.
Here are the million and, in many cases, the multi-million dollar questions that every enterprise of almost any size or consequence is making or will be making now or in the next few years, “Are Dell and HP serious about enterprise storage?” Or are they inclined to treat storage as they have in the past – a bolt-on accessory to a server sale?
This last week while doing some research I ran across the term Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software for the first time. Intrigued, I spent a little time investigating what it was only to discover that for the most part DCIM is a new name for an old friend (or nemesis, depending on your experiences) – Storage Resource Management (SRM.) But this is one of the few times where a change of name may stand to do everyone a lot of good from the vendors who are providing DCIM software to the organizations who are buying it.
More storage capacity and faster performance in new storage systems is anything but new these days. If anything, in this day and age enterprise organizations want to feast on these features PLUS options that keep them lean by enabling them to more efficiently use these resources, requiring less time to manage them and quickly integrating them with their emerging virtual environments. It is these features and more that NetApp served up to enterprises earlier this week.
Once upon a time virtualization was just a concept on most organization’s roadmaps. Today it is a rarity that I talk to an organization that does not have a large percentage of its infrastructure virtualized. But this is creating new management challenges, one of which is keeping applications and their underlying virtualized infrastructure in proper alignment.
Going into the Omaha VMUG meeting, I was expecting to find maybe 40 – 60 users in attendance. However upon my arrival I found a steady stream of cars pulling into the parking lot, over 200 users registered to attend and I counted more than 150 people physically present at the event. So anyone who still doubts the impact virtualization is having on organizations need question no more.
This week I am taking my weekly recap blog on industry news and trends in a little different direction based on a conversation I had this past week with an IT Manager. Everyone knows the economy is bad, IT staffers are being laid off or taking pay cuts and management is scrutinizing every purchase but an experience I had this last week bordered on the edge of ridiculous.
One specific item that caught my attention was an article posted earlier this week on SearchStorage.com’s site regarding Texas Memory System’s acquisition of Incipient’s storage virtualization intellectual property. Being fairly familiar with Incipient’s technology and having talked to a few of its early customers off-the-record, I thought its technology was sound. However like every storage vendor regardless of its size, a pure network-based storage virtualization play has remained a tough sell, especially in enterprise environments where Incipient played.