Next Generation Hybrid Software Defined Data Infrastructures Are In Your Future #blogtobertech

October 1, 2018 – 1:10 pm
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Next Generation Hybrid Software Defined Data Infrastructures Are In Your Future #blogtobertech

Next Generation Hybrid Software Defined Data Infrastructures Are In Your Future

A few weeks ago I was invited to present a keynote at the 1st annual Minnesota VMware User Group (VMUG) Super VMUG mega event in Minneapolis titled Next Generation Hybrid Software Defined Data Infrastructures Are In Your Future (download PDF presentation here).

Key themes of the presentation focused around data infrastructures (e.g. what’s inside physical data centers including server, storage, I/O networking, hardware, software, policies, procedures) along with industry trends including hybrid software defined clouds (and containers). Anther aspect of the presentation focused around building, refreshing and expanding our fundamental data infrasture tradecraft skills. Also keep in mind that everything is not the same across different environments, granted there are similarities that can be leveraged.


Data Infrasture’s are defined to support business applications information service delivery

Data Infrastructures

The fundamental role of data infrastructures is to provide a platform environment for applications and data that is resilient, flexible, scalable, agile, efficient as well as cost-effective. Put another way, data infrastructures exist to protect, preserve, process, move, secure and serve data as well as their applications for information services delivery. Technologies that makeup data infrastructures include hardware, software, cloud or managed services, servers, storage, I/O and networking along with people, processes, policies along with various tools spanning legacy, software-defined virtual, containers and cloud.

Depending on your role or focus, you may have a different view than somebody else of what is infrastructure, or what an infrastructure is. Generally speaking, people tend to refer to infrastructure as those things that support what they are doing at work, at home, or in other aspects of their lives. For example, the roads and bridges that carry you over rivers or valleys when traveling in a vehicle are referred to as infrastructure.

Similarly, the system of pipes, valves, meters, lifts, and pumps that bring fresh water to you, and the sewer system that takes away waste water, are called infrastructure. The telecommunications network. This includes both wired and wireless, such as cell phone networks, along with electrical generating and transmission networks are considered infrastructure. Even the airplanes, trains, boats, and buses that transport us locally or globally are considered part of the transportation infrastructure. Anything that is below what you do, or that supports what you do is considered infrastructure.

The following figure shows various layers or altitudes of encapsulation and abstraction of data infrastructures along with their underlying resources that are defined to support a business enablement outcome, as well as support information services delivery.


Data Infrastructure Stack Layers and Resources Defined To Support Business Information Services

The following figure shows evolution of data infrastructures from on-prem bare metal to software-defined virtual, cloud, containers, converged and hyper-converged packaging as well as emerging composable. Also shown below are a hybrid as well as multi-clouds including bare metal dedicated services in addition to virtual machine instances as well as container-based services.



Data Infrastructure and Resource Packaging Deployment Evolution

Hybrid Software Defined Industry Trends

Some of the trends discussed in the presentation include:

Clouds – Public, Private, Hybrid, Multi and hybrid clouds along with how they are being used, along with technology evolution including virtual machine (VM) instances, bare metal dedicated private servers (DPS) as well as metal as a service. Other cloud trends include data migration appliances such as AWS Snowball Edge, Microsoft Azure Databox among others, VMware on AWS, as well as fog and edge computing.

Other trend topics included converged, hyper-converged, serverless, containers, persistent memory (PMEM) also known as storage class memory (SCM) along with other server storage I/O topics. Additional trend topics included data protection, Azure Stack, security, NVMe as well as NVMe over Fabrics (NVMeoF) along with composable and Gen-Z.

Tradecraft Skills Experience

Expanding your data infrastructure tradecraft means evolving from your primary focus area, gaining insight into other technologies, tools, techniques in adjacent areas outside your comfort zone. For industry veterans with several years to many decades of experience, this means refreshing on what you know, think you know or need to know with what’s new or evolving. On other other hand, for those who are new, expanding your tradecraft means moving beyond learning to memorize to pass a certificate test, to gaining insight on how, when, where, why to apply different tools, technologies, trends to tasks at hand.

For example, developing tradecraft from knowing the different hardware, software, and services resources as well as tools, to what to use when, where, why, and how. Another dimension of expanding data infrastructure tradecraft skills is gaining the experience and insight to troubleshoot problems, gain insight awareness with dashboard or monitoring tools, as well as how to design and manage to cut or reduce the chance of things going wrong.

From Tools and Technologies to Techniques and Tricks of the Trade

Expanding your awareness of new technologies along with how they work is important, so too is understanding application and organization needs. Developing your tradecraft means balancing the focus on new and old technologies, tools, and techniques with business or organizational application functionality.

This is where using various tools that themselves are applications to gain insight into how your data infrastructure is configured and being used, along with the applications they support, is important.

Data Infrastructure Tools Tradecraft
Data Infrastructure Toolbox (Hardware, Software, Scripts)

Next Generation Hybrid Software Defined Data Infrastructures What Next


Balance head in the clouds (thinking, strategy, vision) with feet on the ground (what you can do today)

The following are some additional tips, comments, recommendations to keep in mind for enabling your next generation hybrid software defined data infrastructure.

Where to learn more

Learn more about data infrastructures and tradecraft related trends, tools, technologies and topics via the following links:

Additional learning experiences along with common questions (and answers), as well as tips can be found in Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials book.

Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials Book SDDC

What this all means

Everything is not the same across different organizations, IT environments, application workloads and the data infrastructures that support them. Data Infrasture’s span from legacy on-prem to software-defined cloud (public, private, hybrid, multi-cloud), container, serverless, virtual, hybrid, converged and hyper-converged, as well as central, core and distributed edge or remote office branch office (ROBO). Even though everything is not the same, there are similarities across different environments, technologies and workloads that can be leveraged. Fundamental tradecraft skills and experiences are what enable you to know what to use when, where, why and how including using new as well as old things in new ways, while not making old mistakes in new ways.

Some other tips include avoid flying blind, particular in software defined and cloud environments, have situational awareness, end to end (E2E) insight leveraging metrics that matter, are relevant, timely, accurate and hold context to the data infrastructures as well as applications they support. Part of expanding your tradecraft skills is refreshing on what you know, also expanding into new adjacent areas getting out of your comfort zone. Also understand the context of different terms, technologies and tools. For example, SAS can be big data analytic statistical analysis software, serial attached SCSI storage device as well as shared access signature for Azure clouds among others.

Also keep in mind that while software defined things are popular and trendy with the industry, keep the focus on what is being defined to enable an outcome or business enablement In other words, the emphasis should not be on the software aspect per say, rather how something (hardware, software, service) is defined to enable something. Also keep in mind with software defined marketing and trends such as serverless, servers and software still need hardware (somewhere), and hardware still needs software from micro code to firmware to many other places in the data infrasture layers or stack. Meanwhile, keep in mind that it is #blogtobertech and Next Generation Hybrid Software Defined Data Infrastructures Are In Your Future.

Ok, nuff said, for now.

Cheers Gs

Greg Schulz – Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert 2010-2018. Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Courteous comments are welcome for consideration. First published on https://storageioblog.com any reproduction in whole, in part, with changes to content, without source attribution under title or without permission is forbidden.

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