Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Automic Blog, Simon Hill, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Blog Feed Post

Given Enough Standards, Define Anarchy

Time to rethink what has seemed natural all along

If a given nation independently developed twelve or fourteen governmental systems that all sat side-by-side and attempted to cooperate but never inter-operate, then anarchy would result. Not necessarily overnight, but issues about who is responsible for what, where a given function is best handled, and more would spring up nearly every day.


EVERY WHICH WAY…

Welcome to storage networking. Over the years this field has grown more independent standards than WarCraft has users. Many of them were required for the times, hardware, connectivity, whatever. Others were required because a given vendor thought they were going to corner the market with this new thing… But there are many.

And the storage market has matured. We all know how to use NAS, we’re all up on SAN, we are moving past these infrastructure elements and worrying more and more about what’s stored upon them and how to get it from where it’s stored to where it is needed. Time to rethink what has seemed pretty natural all along. I’ll give you an overview of those getting the most noise, even if they’re not necessarily the ones with the most data running through them, and then let’s talk about it for a bit, shall we?CableMess

  • AoE ATA over Ethernet. In essence, sending SATA commands over the ethernet wire to a target that understands what to do with them. Uses Ethernet, not TCP/IP.
  • CIFS Good old fashioned windows file sharing over TCP/IP. Used and abused in every enterprise on the planet to map remote folders to servers/desktops via TCP/IP.
  • ExpEther A completely new one to me, but essentially PCI Express shared between multiple computers that can accommodate storage devices.
  • FCoE Fiber Channel Over Ethernet. Put an ethernet connection between client and host, and replace your FC HBA with an FCoE HBA, and Bing! The catch is, of course, that the target needs to support FCoE.
  • iSCSI Same as FCOE and AoE except it works with SCSI block commands over TCP/IP. Not a bad little protocol but certainly requires more setup than CIFS or NFS.
  • NFS The age-old UNIX file sharing protocol. Interchangeable with CIFS (oh please, it is too, the only difference is which the target supports), lends itself to UNIX/Linux better than CIFS (surprise!), and is (slightly) less chatty.
  • SATA/SAS/SCSI these have been channeled out just about every port on your laptop from USB to Ethernet, but they’re really designed as a way to talk directly to disk on your computer.
  • There are so many more… The mind, it hurts…

And no, convergence doesn’t solve the problem, while it might limit remote wired FC, it doesn’t settle on a single protocol.


We Have But One Need – store our data.

We have such a mish-mash of solutions floating about our data centers today that it sometimes makes me wonder how it all works together. There are iSCSI and NAS targets that have Fiber Channel behind them, and in some cases that FC is FCoE, there are SATA SANs out there that take FC in and use SATA out the back – not so unusual in today’s marketplace, but truly odd if you think about it – we’re going through protocol conversion just to write a block of data to disk. All iSCSI has something behind it, NAS, SAN, Direct Attached JBOD… It’s ugly. Very very ugly.

I am not the industry visionary to move things along here – I have other responsibilities - but someone needs to get a group of independent people together (sorry storage vendors, you’d muck up the works, even though your technical expertise is the best in the world for this), and put forward a single protocol for communications with storage. Maybe I’m a dreamer, but I think the time has come. When competing drive manufacturers required different standards to stay competitive, this type of hokey-pokey made a lot more sense. When Fiber Channel was horribly expensive and Windows or Novell file servers packed with disk were the dirt-cheap option, this also made sense. Today, most of the reasons put forward for continuing with a dozen or more ‘standards’ are, to quote General Sherman Potter from MASH… Horse pucky. The few that are real – like using different storage types for different functions – could be answered in a new standard and still only use a single protocol. They are also largely created by the environment in which storage grew up, and a fresh look would resolve them.

How disks communicate with your computer is a pure hardware problem that doesn’t need to leak into the protocol discussion, only “how do I connect to a remote bit of storage” that could be extended to the cloud, is the same set of steps for every instance, is securable by industry-standard encryption methods, uses a single transport medium (ethernet) and is publicly documented so that customers and vendors alike get the benefits.


AND THERE WILL BE PUPPIES, RAINBOWS…

image That would free storage vendors to worry about add-on functionality, simplify interoperability testing, and provide an understandable and easy-to-access API to third party developers. To me the only negative is that you’d have to get the storage vendors to all support it, without embrace-and-extend, when they’re already slating development hours for things that increase their competitive edge. But that “only negative” is enough to make me believe it won’t happen – at least won’t happen any time soon. Because storage vendors are still vendors, and they still have to focus resources where they’re going to bring them business, and the storage world has long believed that interoperability provides customers with mobility, and when a single customer is as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, you don’t spend your limited dev time making it easier for them to leave your stable.

So the short summary is that this is technologically feasible, but it would take an herculean effort to get it implemented across server and storage vendors. Technically, a couple of the above protocols come close to this, but they’re not intuitive to configure, and I think that’s a key also. If you have to learn SAN terminology to set up a remote disk, that’s too much.

Will this happen? Well, hard drive vendors figured it out a few years ago, but only after the market had been reduced to a couple of vendors, so I honestly don’t know. I think that customers would be better served by a long shot, and innovation would grow, but there has to be a driving reason for vendors to buy in, and historically speaking that reason isn’t there… Or arrays would have homogenous management tools built in.

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.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
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...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Digital transformation has changed the way users interact with the world, and the traditional healthcare experience no longer meets rising consumer expectations. Enterprise Health Clouds (EHCs) are designed to easily and securely deliver the smart and engaging digital health experience that patients expect today, while ensuring the compliance and data integration that care providers require. Jikku Venkat
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, 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.
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., 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.
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
DevOps promotes continuous improvement through a culture of collaboration. But in real terms, how do you: Integrate activities across diverse teams and services? Make objective decisions with system-wide visibility? Use feedback loops to enable learning and improvement? With technology insights and real-world examples, in his general session at @DevOpsSummit, at 21st Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, explored how leading organizations use data-driven DevOps to close th...
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, 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.
From our perspective as consumers, perhaps the best thing about digital transformation is how consumerization is making technology so much easier to use. Sure, our television remote controls still have too many buttons, and I have yet to figure out the digital display in my Honda, but all in all, tech is getting easier for everybody. Within companies – even very large ones – the consumerization of technology is gradually taking hold as well. There are now simple mobile apps for a wide range of ...