Sunday, December 13, 2015

Going away from silos to Hyper Converged Systems

A typical starting statement  of a IT support help desk has statements like, 'xyz' in app did not work, getting unexpected error. 

Firstly, support executive tries to isolate problem domain. Upon making 1st level triage, reassigns ticket to domain expert. Domain expert looks at the issue and expresses his option. More often load handling of infra is blamed. IT team takes it further to scale up specific infra. Depending on the app importance immediate or delayed budget gets this new HW. IT provisioning team integrates new node and issue is finally resolved.

Though the solution flow looks simple, often it takes weeks or months to add a new compute resource in traditional IT handling methods. Some trivial tasks involved in adding new infra are: Data Center rack space, physical network connection, provisioning, OS installation and app migration. 

Yes, gone are the days. Virtualization converts these trivial tasks into few simple click events. 

  • A simple clone operation and network param change creates new node. 
  • Scaling up compute, storage and memory can happen in few clicks.

having said that, still adding a new node to existing cluster can take long cycles. This can add up lead time. 
  • In NAS and SAN environment scaling up beyond current storage limits take lot of time. 
  • CPU cycle still follow traditional delays, It's difficult to add pur compute infra by itself.
  • HA and recovery from fault is time consuming

End of problem statement leads to solution segment. Here you go,
Many startups are working on solutions to remove above mentioned silos. End goal is to reduce lead time involved in compute, storage and memory expand and shrink operation.  companies to watch out in this space are, 
  1. Nutanix - San Jose based startup, offers different models of Hyper converged systems. Works with all leading Hypervisor vendors. recently came-up with its own hypervisor as well.
  2. Nimboxx - built on the same platform as existing Nimboxx solutions, combining compute, storage, networking and security into a single system. High availability comes from the Nimboxx MeshOS operating environment
  3. Pivot3 The vSTAC OS dynamically aggregates, load-balances and optimizes shared storage, compute and network resources within the Pivot3 
  4. Simpivity
Other than start-ups few established players have their own solutions as well.

 Riverbed, Supermicro.

Hyper converged systems will be a very interesting space to watchout in 2015 and 2016. Software defined Storage (SDS) is expected to take good shape with hyper converged systems.