Every storage vendor has made good money from proprietary tools that manage their own storage, whether that storage is a traditional array, traditional file, hybrid, flash-only, private cloud, or public cloud. Of course this software works best when 100% of the storage is managed by these proprietary tools. This approach just will not cut it as software-led infrastructure and software-led storage become established. An overall systems orchestration approach is going to be much more cost effective.
IT has specific roles to perform, whether the IT organization is centralized, distributed or a hybrid model. These include ensuring performance, reliability, recoverability, security and compliance of corporate systems, and corporate data. Just as with quality, businesses will define different organizational models of IT deployment, but the fundamental IT skills, tools, processes, and procedures need to be in place. IT, like quality, cannot be completely outsourced – it is too important.
The key to the success of software-led infrastructure is orchestration at the application or application suite level, ensuring that the correct compute, storage, networking, and business continuity resources are in place to meet the application owner's business objectives. The key is ensuring that resources can be managed and deployed by the orchestration layer, and the data available to the orchestration layer from the resource layers below is 100% of all the data available. A fundamental requirement is for every device to have APIs that allow discovery of all the data and metadata by the orchestration layer and for every device to be fully managed by orchestration APIs.
The orchestration layer should work across all types of resources. For example, storage should be available from all sources and types, internal & external, with the same interface and same SLA management including IOPS, capacity, latency, reliability, recoverability and security. Included in this orchestration should be the capability to meet the internal and external governance standards, and the charge-back or show back costs and projected future costs.
Increasing the level of deployment of in-house and private cloud in mega-datacenters that include cloud service providers and data aggregators relevant to their specific vertical industry will allow optimum systems integration and management within a mega-datacenter complex. Back-hauling data and metadata within a datacenter is an order of magnitude more effective and cost effective that attempting long-distance movement and management.
Action Item: For enterprise IT, picking best-of-breed storage, CPU, or networking orchestration platforms is a short-term strategy that is unlikely to realize the full potential of software-led infrastructure. Enterprise IT should focus on system-level integration and pick an ecosystem and device suppliers that support Open APIs both to and from all devices. The ability to integrate legacy, private cloud and public cloud system resources will need a shift away from traditional resource stovepipes back to a systems view.