Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Apache

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

APIs: Essential for Delivering Storage in Enterprise Cloud Infrastructures

As new storage platforms evolve, native API support is a must

It’s pretty easy to pick holes in the current legacy storage products, especially when it comes to integration within both public and private cloud deployments.  However it’s worth discussing exactly what is required when implementing cloud frameworks, as the way in which storage is deployed is radically different from the traditional model of storage operations.  In this post we will look at why traditional methods of storage management need to change and how that affects the way in which the hardware itself is used.  This leads to a discussion on APIs and how they are essential to drive cloud deployments effectively.

The Legacy View

Legacy Provisioning Process
For the last 10 years or so, the traditional view of  storage management has consisted of a number of Storage Administrators using a GUI, CLIs and/or scripts to process storage requests as they are generated by the business user.  The process is highly manual, with lots of interactions between the requestor, the storage admin delivering the work and other intermediaries to cover things like billing, change control, capacity management and workload scheduling.  This made the overall process pretty people intensive and not surprisingly elongated the delivery time.  Many end users will also have recollections of asking for their specific requirement to be told they can only have something “off the shelf” – i.e. storage to a standard LUN size and with a specific RAID protection.

This was done for obvious reasons; firstly the configuration of large arrays was predicated on pre-planning and a fixed design, usually created at hardware installation time.  Once defined and in use, it couldn’t be changed (or at least couldn’t be changed without significant impact and cost).  Second, it makes sense to reduce requirements into a smaller subset to make the provisioning process easier.  As well as being rigid in configuration, many legacy arrays assume the creation and provisioning of LUNs is an infrequent task.  Many require requests to be packaged and executed in batch and certainly can’t cope easily with concurrent requests.  Although it is possible to automate some provisioning processes using CLIs and scripts, this doesn’t address the real requirements in creating an on-demand model.

The New World

API Provisioning Process
As we scale up to ever large IT deployments and especially within service-based or “cloud” configurations, the idea of having large amounts of human intervention in the provisioning process simply doesn’t work.  Instead, we need to move to a model of “storage on demand” where an external agent – user or orchestration software – can request storage as part of a portal and see the request actioned in real-time or at least within a matter of minutes or hours.  This kind of operation can only be delivered where the hardware has been designed for the purpose.  Where previously storage administrators were involved in every provisioning request, those requests will be actioned within a provisioning framework, defined by the administrator or a storage architect.

Framework
What do we mean by framework?  Well, it’s all about setting a set of parameters around which allocations take place.  This could include:

  • LUN Size
  • Resiliency/Availability
  • Performance
  • Security credentials
  • Snapshot policy
  • Capacity on demand LUN
The architect chooses which specific hardware components are used to meet the requirements.  There are also operational limitations:
  • Maximum number of concurrent requests
  • Maximum number of provisioning requests per hour
  • Ability to suspend or reject provisioning requests by array
  • Restrict requests by array capacity
  • Restrict requests by user based on capacity guidelines
The provisioning framework also needs the ability to work asynchronously and autonomously; that is, to accept, process and acknowledge provisioning requests without the requestor having to maintain a permanent session to the array.  Once requests are completed, the requestor is alerted via a callback mechanism or by manually checking whether a request has completed.  Obviously there is a need for integration into monitoring frameworks, in order to track hardware and performance issues.

Designed for API
Of course there’s a big question around whether APIs can be retro-fitted to existing storage.  In classic IT tradition the answer is “it depends”.  Without a doubt no new storage array should be released without native API functionality.  However fitting an API to existing technology will depend on how flexible the existing configuration process is.  It’s possible to create an API wrapper and build automation into a middleware layer.  This is how products such as iWave’s Storage Automator work.  However adding these features to existing storage products could be costly and still be an imperfect solution.

The Storage Architect Take
As new storage platforms evolve, native API support is a must. The Storage Administrator will simply be required to deploy the infrastructure and plug it into a higher framework from where provisioning will be entirely automated.  Vendors offering this level of functionality will be the most attractive to service providers, looking to make the cost of acquiring and managing storage as cheap as possible. We’re about to see a paradigm shift in the way in which storage is managed and possibly an end to the storage administrator.

Read the original blog entry...

@CloudExpo Stories
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...
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...
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...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, provided some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacent...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
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...
"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...
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...
"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.