Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Mehdi Daoudi, Pat Romanski, Flint Brenton, Gordon Haff

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.


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.


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
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, 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.
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
"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.
"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.
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up 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.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, 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.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
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...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...