The Changing Face of Data Center Technologies
We spoke to Rajesh Shetty, Director, Data Center & Virtualization Sales, Cisco India & SAARC to understand the challenges faced by new-age data centers due to the influx of cloud technologies
Q Around a decade back there were multiple inhouse data centers within one organization. How has the scenario changed since then?
Currently data centers are getting consolidated. It started from the time when cloud scenario start emerging. Many of the ITes companies started creating their private cloud, private cloud is nothing but creating a cloud environment within their enterprise. We believe that over a period of time it is going to be a combination of both private and public cloud infrastructure. There would be no particular solution of just being 100% inhouse or solely relying on cloud, it should be a combination of both the entity depending on the workload. That’s where the hybrid cloud is becoming prevalent.
Q) What is the complexity in managing hybrid cloud as compared to managing things that are purely on a private cloud?
Considering the evolution of a workload, as an enterprise they have a specific business requirement and accordingly the customer basically goes for one of these two approaches– 1)some prefer to leverage own private cloud/datacenter 2)while some are not sure about the scalability so they start leveraging the public cloud.
But overtime, it becomes evident that, there is an inherent inefficiency in both the models as the scalability offered by public cloud is very high and additionally it provides processing power and more storage. But application performance, security & visibility as in terms of what is happening in the datacenter is more accurate in a private cloud. In such a scenario, customers mainly focus on distribution of data. Here he has to differentiate on the part that can be kept in-house. For instance, if they need a large scale yearend process they can leverage the public cloud. There are certain workloads that can be kept on the public cloud alone and not be brought to the private cloud.
From Cisco’s point of view we provide various
tools that make this whole model work extremely well. Our approach today is the ASAP datacenter – A: Analyse S: simplify A: Automate P: Protect. When we look at a datacenter, first we have to understand & analyze what exactly is there in the datacenter, it doesn’t matter if it’s public or private but look at it from a cloud point of view. We need to have complete visibility of what is happening in a data center. We have launched a product called Tetration that is basically an analytics engine that looks into what is happening in datacenter. Every single bytes that is going, what resources have been consumed by application, it gives a graphical view of all this data. It also gives a complete view of the policies, in term of how can the policies be created and enforced.
Q) What are the challenges faced by organizations with legacy infrastructure in the current digital era?
There are multiple challenges; one is basically how to get your application cloud ready and there are two ways of doing it. One way is to add system to the legacy application to allow it to go on cloud. Other way is create cloud native application which use containers, micros segmentation, these application are evolved purely to work in a cloud environment using various tools like open stack etc.
Organisation goes and deploys infrastructure as their business demand for it. And today, businesses have become open and much more digitized. They are grappling in terms of how to get the application, which is working in a certain environment, to work in a newer environment. This is one of the areas that is given a lot of attention. The second area is that many of the solutions that they get are another asylum. Looking at hyper- convergence, it is one of the biggest talked about areas but most of the hyper convergence that is present in the market is another asylum. If you’re going on a hypervoicer, you are on a specific asylum. So how can the existing investment leverages and continue with that in a newer environment is another challenge that they face. The third challenge is pure skilling, as the existing manpower is trained in a certain way but now to train them as per the digital era is another task. Fourth is getting support from the management, this part is rarely seen as customers are aware about the digital system. But down the run there was a phase, where they had to be convinced. But things like Demonetisation, GST have paved the companies to go towards digitization.
Q) What are the challenges from a hardware perspective, as most of the capex investment is done on that?
The traditional datacenter was known as convergence infrastructure, which had the compute, storage and virtualization technologies built in. Now we are going into the hyper convergence era. When we entered into hyper converge market, most customers had invested a huge amount into compute & storage and just because they were entering the environment where compute, storage & network come together in one solution they would not toss it away as they had invested into it. So we leverage the Fabric Interconnect and connect the Hyper convergence to this interconnect. Under this a compute can come from hyper convergence and storage can be your existence storage, we allow that to happen so that the storage investment is not wasted. Either the storage can be scaled or the hyper convergence can leverage the existing storage and then create a run over that. Now it depends on how do you want to scale- either scale the converged or move the application over a period of time to the hyper convergence and then scale your hyper convergence.
Q) What’s the reduction in space occupied by data centers? In the past we used to have sprawling data centers, spread across a very large area in a campus.
A customer can look at either getting the datacenter under control or use the core hybrid cloud concept. We have a software called a Cisco Cloud Center that we got from the acquisition of a company called cliQr. We have taken all the APIs/ learning from Cisco’s inter cloud and integrated that into Cisco cloud center, this is the software that allows you to create a hybrid cloud in a simple way. So rather than creating a workload to work on a private cloud / 3rd party private cloud, you could create the workload within the cloud center and then later decide where you want to deploy it. From a cloud point of view if you are aware of the fact that if u have a workload working on Public cloud, it is very difficult to move it to a private in-house cloud. All of cloud providers do a brilliant work in moving the workload from private to public but vice-versa it becomes very difficult. Cisco cloud center provides all the tools for moving from private to public or vice-versa. They give you complete flexibility as far as the workload cloud deployment is concerned.