Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Once Again, I Can Haz Storage as a Service?

Redundant storage is past due

While plenty of people have had  a mouthful (or page full, or pipe full) of things to say about the Amazon outage, the one thing that  it brings to the fore is not a problem with cloud, but a problem with storage. Long ago, the default mechanism for “High Availability” was to have two complete copies of something (say a network switch) and when one went down, the other was brought up with the same IP. It is sad to say that even this is far-and-away better than the level of redundancy that most of us place in our storage.

image The reasons are pretty straight-forward, you can put in a redundant pair of NAS heads, or a redundant pair of file/directory virtualization appliances like our own ARX, but a redundant pair of all of your storage? The cost alone would be prohibitive. Amazon’s problems seem to stem from a controller problem,  not a data redundancy problem, but I’m not an insider, so that is just appearances. But most of us suffer from the opposite. High availability entry points protect data that is all too often a single point of failure. I know I lived through the sudden and irrevocable crashing of an AIX NAS once, and it wasn’t pretty. When the third disk turned up bad, we were out of luck, had to wait for priority shipment of new disks and then do a full restore… The entire time being down in a business where time is money.

The critical importance of the data that is the engine of our enterprises these days makes building that cost-prohibitive truly redundant architecture a necessity. If you don’t already have a complete replica of your data somewhere, it is worth looking into file and database replication technologies. Honestly, if you choose to keep your replicas on cheaper, slower disk, you can save a bundle and still have the security that even if your entire storage system goes down, you’ll have the ability to keep the business running.

But what I’d like to see is full blown storage as a service. We couldn’t call it SaaS, so I’ll propose we name it Storage Tiers As A Service Host, just so we can use the acronym Staash. The worthy goal of this technology would be the ability to automatically, with no administrator interaction, redirect all traffic to device A over to device B, heterogeneously. So your core datacenter NAS goes down hard, lets call it a power failure to one or more racks, Staash would detect that the primary is off-line and substitute your secondary for it in the storage hierarchy. People might notice that files are served up more slowly, depending upon your configuration, but they’ll also still be working. Given sufficient maturity, this model could even go so far as to allow them to save changes made to documents that were open at the time that the primary NAS went down, though this would be a future iteration of the concept.

Today we have automated redundancy all the way to the final step, it is high time we implemented redundancy on that last little bit, and made our storage more agile. While I could reasonably argue that a File/Directory Virtualization device like F5’s ARX is the perfect place to implement this functionality – it is already heterogeneous, it sits between users and data, and it is capable of being deployed in HA pairs… All the pre-requisites for Staash to be implemented – I don’t think your average storage or server administrator much cares where it is implemented, as long as it is implemented.

We’re about 90% there. You can replicate your data – and you can replicate it heterogeneously. You can set up an HA pair of NAS heads (if you are a single-vendor shop) or File/Directory virtualization devices whether you are single-vendor or heterogeneous, and with a file/directory virtualization tool you have already abstracted the user from the physical storage location in a very IT-friendly way (files are still saved together, storage is managed in a reasonable manner, only files with naming conflicts are renamed, etc), all that is left is to auto-switch from your high-end primary to a replica created however your organization does these things…

And then you are truly redundantly designed. It’s been what, forty years? That’s almost as long as I’ve been alive.

Of course, I think this would fit in well with my long-term vision of protocol independence too, but sometimes I want to pack too much into one idea or one blog, so I’ll leave it with “let’s start implementing our storage architecture like we do our server architecture… No single point of failure. No doubt someone out there is working on this configuration… Here’s hoping they call it Staash when it comes out.

The cat in the picture above is Jennifer Leggio’s kitty Clarabelle. Thanks to Jen for letting me use the pic!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
Blockchain. A day doesn’t seem to go by without seeing articles and discussions about the technology. According to PwC executive Seamus Cushley, approximately $1.4B has been invested in blockchain just last year. In Gartner’s recent hype cycle for emerging technologies, blockchain is approaching the peak. It is considered by Gartner as one of the ‘Key platform-enabling technologies to track.’ While there is a lot of ‘hype vs reality’ discussions going on, there is no arguing that blockchain is b...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
The cloud era has reached the stage where it is no longer a question of whether a company should migrate, but when. Enterprises have embraced the outsourcing of where their various applications are stored and who manages them, saving significant investment along the way. Plus, the cloud has become a defining competitive edge. Companies that fail to successfully adapt risk failure. The media, of course, continues to extol the virtues of the cloud, including how easy it is to get there. Migrating...
The need for greater agility and scalability necessitated the digital transformation in the form of following equation: monolithic to microservices to serverless architecture (FaaS). To keep up with the cut-throat competition, the organisations need to update their technology stack to make software development their differentiating factor. Thus microservices architecture emerged as a potential method to provide development teams with greater flexibility and other advantages, such as the abili...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
The use of containers by developers -- and now increasingly IT operators -- has grown from infatuation to deep and abiding love. But as with any long-term affair, the honeymoon soon leads to needing to live well together ... and maybe even getting some relationship help along the way. And so it goes with container orchestration and automation solutions, which are rapidly emerging as the means to maintain the bliss between rapid container adoption and broad container use among multiple cloud host...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, discussed the b...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
"Since we launched LinuxONE we learned a lot from our customers. More than anything what they responded to were some very unique security capabilities that we have," explained Mark Figley, Director of LinuxONE Offerings at IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.