Making Sense of The Private Cloud
As organizations look to make the most of the dollars they spend on IT, inevitably there is discussion on using The Cloud. Often this involves considering how to leverage public cloud technology to help reduce internal CAPEX and OPEX. There are many different forms of cloud service: Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), Storage as a Service (StaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); the fact is, most organizations are already using The Cloud in some form. Maybe they are using a cloud-based platform for software development; maybe they have a cloud-based ERP solution such as Salesforce.com. The question is not whether you will use The Cloud or whether you will move IT to The Cloud. You will use The Cloud and you will have internal IT.
From an internal perspective, the private cloud equates to moving internal IT towards a service-oriented architecture, and for small-to-medium enterprises at the core of that architecture is storage.
The end point of a service-oriented architecture or private cloud is to have IT aligned to the business and be able to respond quickly to changing business dynamics, “just in time.” There are many steps to achieve this and the biggest hurdles are not technology. The key is getting people, process and technology aligned. I touched on this in my blog “Is your organization ready to consolidate SAN and NAS Storage?”. The first step is aligning the organization’s culture to recognize the benefits of The Cloud and gain support for this. If you do not have that then it is a good place to start.
Of course, a private cloud is more complex than just consolidating SAN and NAS, as it also involves servers, operating systems, virtualization software, application rationalization, management tools, business process, funding models etc. However, if you cannot get to the simple step of storage consolidation how can you possibly achieve the rest?
At Starboard Storage our mission is to simplify the consolidation of storage, so you can concentrate on the other elements of delivering service oriented architecture.
In essence we do for your storage what VMware does for your servers.
With Starboard Storage your application data is stored and protected on a shared set of performance and capacity resources that are optimized for the needs of each application. Starboard supports SAN and NAS and multiple protocols (FC, iSCSI, CIFS, NFS). Every application has access to fast performance on demand as it needs it (Starboard SSD Accelerator Tier™). Every application has access to more capacity when it needs it (Starboard Dynamic Storage Pool™).
We deliver performance-as-a-utility and capacity-as-a-utility to your applications and optimize for both $/IOP and $/GB while lowering OPEX and CAPEX dollars.
How do we do this?
1) We simplify provisioning and the ability for applications to access more capacity by breaking the long held storage management paradigms of RAID group management. We do this while maintaining and improving on parity-based data protection.
2) We deliver thin provisioning with performance by eliminating reservations and enabling all capacity to be managed in a single dynamic storage pool available to all applications on demand. No space is consumed until data is written and all snapshots are simply pointers. All capacity is in a single storage pool that is easily expandable with any size of drive.
3) We deliver SSD as an accelerator and do not treat it like a spinning disk. There are no RAID penalties, and sophisticated caching algorithms enable the most relevant data to be accelerated on demand with no policy setting and no management overhead for the customer. You can read more about how these caching algorithms deliver performance on demand in this blog post “Storage SSD caching Explained”
4) We make provisioning new storage easy no matter what the protocol with Starboard Storage Apps.
In summary, being able to deliver a private cloud is a journey for customers. The most important parts of that journey are the people and process, but the most controllable is technology. Starboard helps customers on their journey to the private cloud by delivering storage performance and capacity on demand for their applications.
January 2013 update:- You might also want to check out my article on VMBlog that discusses why 2013 will be the year of storage virtualization