by Ishan Bhattacharya

Where to Park Your Storage

Nov 06, 20143 mins
Cloud ComputingCloud ManagementComputers and Peripherals

Taking storage away from servers led to performance issues in the network, as data needs to be fetched over four to five hops.  

It is always easy to decide when you do not have too many options. But for Indian CIOs, that does not seem to be the case. Technology is spoiling enterprises with too many choices and as a result, a situation is arising which is complex but opportune. Similar is the case with storage.

More than how, the bigger question today is, where to store? If one goes for private cloud then scalability becomes a challenge, if one decides to go for hybrid cloud, determining what workloads to shift becomes an issue, and if one decides to go completely public, security becomes a major concern.

“There is a whole gamut of problems when it comes to private cloud—complexity being the biggest one. In order to take storage out of the server, we had to build a fiber channel network to take data back and forth to the servers. This network became very expensive and proprietary. Networks became complex and storage went further and further away from the application,” said Dheeraj Pandey, co-founder and CEO, Nutanix.

A Web-scale converged infrastructure company Nutanix recently entered the Indian market. It also announced a strategic relationship with Dell.

Taking storage away from servers led to performance issues in the network, as data needs to be fetched over four to five hops. “You have to go to a server, then to a switch, and then another switch to land up on the storage itself. The divide between application, computing, and storage became a bottleneck. Then there’s also the need to hire expensive specialists to manage storage,” Pandey said.

According to him, today, storage is very arcane and enterprises should consider bringing it back, like Google, Amazon, and Facebook.

Nutanix plans to revolutionize the storage market. “We are trying to bring that goodness of storage and computing back. It is the natural place where storage should belong, as close to the computers as possible,” Pandey said.

As enterprises get more dependent on software, the value of hardware or the fabric will gradually drop. But to what extent an enterprise is willing to cut down the fabric’s value? Enterprises have suffered because companies could not build scalable fabrics that realize cloud economics, which is pay-as-you-grow.

“The biggest problem with the private cloud was that people built this scale up system. A single machine had large hardware, large CPUs, and large memory. Google, Amazon, and Microsoft did not buy expensive monolithic mainframe systems, they bought small little machines and put software on it. Software’s biggest value is to provide the facade of a single machine,” Pandey said.

Pandey pointed out that it is important to bring the goodness of public cloud to its private counterpart.

Given the fact that there are challenges when it comes to storing data outside your premise, one thing cannot be denied—in India, there is a definite lean toward hybrid cloud.

“American, Chinese, and partly European CIOs had to painfully learn the lessons of cloud computing. But in India, as hybrid cloud gradually gains momentum, CIOs will not have to take the trouble of going all in or staying private. All the experiential learning of the world can be leveraged for India,” Pandey added.

Dealing with legacy systems and skill sets happens to be a bottleneck for Indian CIOs when it comes to adaptation of new technology. “Legacy can be dealt with newer technology. Taking a new concept and relating it to the old world creates successful companies,” Pandey said.