Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SVForum Cloud Services SIG: "The Future of the Data Center"

By the title of the meetup, namely "The Future of the Data Center", you might conclude that the two scheduled talks would be about how to architect future data centers, racks, power, cooling, etc. But, the talks were a bit more focused on only two, but important, aspects of enterprise clouds:
Brad Stone, Nexenta: Cloud Storage.

Both the presentations can be accessed through the SVForum Cloud and Virtualization SIG web page, Resources section.


An interesting thing about the Nexenta storage offering is its ability to manage storage across heterogeneous hypervisor environments -- Citrix, Microsoft, VMware, etc. And, through the use of the 'pool' concept, both SSDs and HDDs appear as uniform abstractions to the storage user. Both file level and block-level storage are provided. There was not much opportunity to go into the specifics of architecture, although it was mentioned that the implementation is based on ZFS and for, parallelism, pNFS. Thanks to ZFS, the scalability of the Nexenta solution is very huge, as seen in the thumbnail above.

There are several storage systems on the market, and the data center designer is well advised to study them all to determine the best choice for a given data center design.


ServiceMesh's product offering is the Agility Platform that enables collaboration among the various stakeholders in a cloud environment: product managers, business managers, developers, IT personnel, etc. In addition to the usual identity-based access rights, it also provides for policies of various types that local governmental regulations might require a global enterprise to comply to. As can be seen in the diagram here, the platform connects with various types of clouds, and provides for rich and extensible set of policies driven by meta data associated with various cloud components. Thus, you can set policies such as certain data has to stored within a certain national boundary, certain data has to be SAS 70 compliant, etc.

The Agility Platform itself can be hosted either within the enterprise or in a public cloud. It seems to me that large enterprises would do well to base their cloud implementations on something like the Agility Platform: Otherwise, it can be too expensive to deal with various types of lapses in the cloud. Dave cited the case of a Google Exec that was convicted in Italy as an example of the need for compliance.

Another interesting aspect of ServiceMesh, the company, is that there has been no VC money used, and is completely bootstrapped.

Thus, in one evening, you could get not only a holistic view of how to approach an enterprise cloud creation, but also a look into a focused technology for storage in the cloud.

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