Cloud computing is starting to come of age. It has fundamentally altered the IT landscape, dramatically boosting IT agility while lowering costs. What started out as a side project for companies like VMware has led to the proliferation of cloud providers and stacks from IaaS providers based on OpenStack, PaaS providers like Cloud Foundry, and SaaS providers like Dropbox and Salesforce.
Containers are all the rage these days. Many large enterprises are experimenting with containers, and some have implemented them in some form or fashion. Most of the excitement and experimentation is a grassroots effort, and containers are being used within pockets of the enterprises. In many cases, management is aware of container technology but has not yet bought into an all-out container strategy. Some of the hesitation that I hear from C-level executives is that containers are not mature enough yet, containers have security gaps, there is a lack of skills and training, and they don’t want to give up their investment in VMs. The practitioners who are implementing containers see huge opportunities in agility, quality, portability, and manageability. So, how can we explain the value of containers to our bosses so we can get broader adoption of a technology that can solve a lot of business problems?
Yes, the title is a bit caustic, but I have been giving some serious thought about the attitude of pets vs cattle within a hybrid cloud environment, and every time, it boils down to the conclusion that we shoot cattle because the underlying infrastructure is just not robust enough to treat our cattle like a herd. Instead, we treat them as singletons. I do not know a rancher today who will just shoot their cattle because they strayed into the wrong pasture, or because they ate the wrong thing and got sick. They herd the cattle back to where they belong and often call the veterinarian first. Yet, our clouds do not seem resilient enough to handle this type of behavior. Continue reading Pets vs Cattle Is Not Reality
One of the big challenges of cloud scale data center operation is determining what to do with the waste heat. In a typical data center, cooling systems account for roughly forty percent of capital equipment costs, and thirty percent of the energy consumed in a facility goes into cooling. Data center operators are forever looking to new ways to reduce the overhead that cooling imposes. Facebook chose to site its first data center outside the US in Luleå, Sweden, a location chosen as much for its low-cost electricity, derived from 100% renewable sources, as it was for its subarctic climate, which enables the data center to use outside air cooling all year round. In Belgium, Google has taken a less direct approach. It too uses free outside air cooling for much of the year, but on days when the outside air temperature exceeds Google’s maximum threshold (Google maintains data centers at temperatures somewhat above 80°F), it avoids the issue by transferring computing load to other data centers.
With the news that EMC has bought Virtustream (to be completed near the end of the year), the cloud landscape does not change very much in the short term; however, in the long term, the EMC family has its work cut out for it to integrate all its cloud solutions. The EMC family currently has three, if not more, cloud options available to its customers from VMware, EMC, and now Virtustream, and the last is handled quite differently. This will cause some issues if people want to move between the various clouds. Those issues including billing, management, and technology.
It’s that season again! For those who don’t know, I live in Florida, and yes, we do have seasons down here. We have Tourist Season, Lovebug Season, and of course the one we’re best known for: Hurricane Season. With Hurricane Season starting on June first, most companies should have finished their preseason disaster recovery test by now. Oh, how things have changed from the days of flying off to have loads of fun at the remote data center, restoring test objectives from tape to prove we had the capabilities to restore applications and services slated for that specific test.