Speaking with customers everyday the most common thing I see the infrastructure teams struggle with is how do we get from X to Z. We are virtualizing first. Evaluating tier 1 apps as VM’s. Migrating non-essential services to the cloud. As an overall strategy how do I get from what I have, to where I want to go?
While there are many topics to get you going on this path, from management and orchestration to improved monitoring and security. One thing we as infrastructure guys often forget to ask is, “Are our applications ready for the future?” Many of the off the shelf applications are just fine for many of our use cases today will they still be viable in 5-10 years? Can we take a design that was created from a physical silo, virtualize it, and hope to be cloud ready? Maybe. How can we think in a new way about our applications?
Currently we take our application and think of it this way:
It consumes parts of these buckets. Physical or Virtual, the application is bound by the contraints of a general purpose OS accessing some sort of physical resources that are bound a physical RU in a datacenter.
So even as we look to build out like this:
We take the same solutions that we used in the physical world in order to provide scale and high availability. Mainly clustering. Does clustering provide actually cloud enabled applications? Most likely not. We look to the new bubble of dot com innovators for solutions to the boxes the old guard of application vendors have locked us in. I am not going negative on any current application but rather trying to challenge us to think beyond the way we have always done things.
So if we want to move towards a new model, public, private or hybrid cloud. It would be in the best interest of the infrastructure teams to lead the charge and provide thought leadership when moving applications to a cloud. I would argue in the near future you do not want to be the one that is seemingly hugging your infrastructure. It is always better to be leading the change than
roadblocking it, especially when the change will drive the business to the next level of service capabilities.
What does my data actually look like?
How does the business use the rows and columns to function?
Are all application decisions made in a room walled in by current capabilites?
How are we going to deliver applications with a new model? (think mobile)
At what point do we need to expand the foundation of what we are built on in order to increase our effectiveness in the market?
In 5 years do I want to be working on plumbing of the datacenter or have enough agility and scalability built in where I can drive innovation rather than daily maintenance?
So a few questions to start asking:
Don’t’ you just love double titles?
For many years I have been an infrastructure guy. I really liked how the cables, and processors and Memory and blinking lights worked. Applications were often the necessary evil tolerated so that I can play with cool technology. During my own journey toward learning about the cloud it becomes increasingly important to consider the function of the application. Six years ago me would totally punch me in the face right now. Traitor. J
1 – Don’t get your App messed up in my resource buckets of awesomeness
So the reality check to the Infrastructure geek in me is this: The application teams really think of what you do as the network. That is why when anything is ever wrong it is always “the network’s” fault. What we love to do is getting abstracted more and more. I will still contend that is very important and very hard to do. Whether you are building reference architectures or deploying a converged infrastructure appliance almost no one but us cares. They just want the data to do their jobs. So while we have really great discussions about speeds and feeds, the guy in the picture below just wants the app. From the hypervisor down we need to design with the application in mind or we will risk becoming like that goth dude locked in the server room on IT Crowd.
2 Honey badger don’t care about FCoE
My next post will get into what I have been researching regarding what is out there and hopefully help us (infra. peeps) understand our App/Dev brothers better.
You are probably an Infrastructure person if:
- You read this blog.
- You work mainly with Virtualization
- Storage Admin
- Network Admin
- You like to make fun of DBA’s