Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui

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.

Microservices Articles
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addresse...
Adding public cloud resources to an existing application can be a daunting process. The tools that you currently use to manage the software and hardware outside the cloud aren’t always the best tools to efficiently grow into the cloud. All of the major configuration management tools have cloud orchestration plugins that can be leveraged, but there are also cloud-native tools that can dramatically improve the efficiency of managing your application lifecycle. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, ...
The now mainstream platform changes stemming from the first Internet boom brought many changes but didn’t really change the basic relationship between servers and the applications running on them. In fact, that was sort of the point. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Gordon Haff, senior cloud strategy marketing and evangelism manager at Red Hat, will discuss how today’s workloads require a new model and a new platform for development and execution. The platform must handle a wide range of rec...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term.