I recently joined the Forrester Infrastructure and Operations team, and I'm excited to be working the team to further explore the changing world of storage. I know... many said "Storage? How boring." But in fact, there have been some very exciting changes in storage that have emerged as the result of many other transformations happening in the IT environment, that directly or indirectly impact storage. Some of the larger changes include:
Converged infrastructure: Emerging solutions that tie networking, storage and compute together have impacted the way storage further interacts and integrates with the other components of this stack. As Andre Kindness (@andrekindness) addresses in his doc here, the convergence occurring in the network are impacting the way storage considerations must be made and deployed going forward.
Cloud: Although much hyped, cloud computing is real and happening. There's no need to delve deeper for now, my colleague James Staten (@staten7) covers this topic extensively and can find his blog here. Many components of this model have evolved, yet cloud storage in its infancy. Use cases are still limited, as Andrew Reichman (@reichmanIT) points out in his August doc. However, I do see the market evolving quickly, as enterprises begin to get more comfortable and realistic about their expectations.
On Dec. 2, Oracle announced the next move in its program to integrate its hardware and software assets, with the introduction of Oracle Private Cloud Architecture, an integrated infrastructure stack with Infiniband and/or 10G Ethernet fabric, integrated virtualization, management and servers along with software content, both Oracle’s and customer-supplied. Oracle has rolled out the architecture as a general platform for a variety of cloud environments, along with three specific implementations, Exadata, Exalogic and the new Sunrise Supercluster, as proof points for the architecture.
Exadata has been dealt with extensively in other venues, both inside Forrester and externally, and appears to deliver the goods for I&O groups who require efficient consolidation and maximum performance from an Oracle database environment.
Exalogic is a middleware-targeted companion to the Exadata hardware architecture (or another instantiation of Oracle’s private cloud architecture, depending on how you look at it), presenting an integrated infrastructure stack ready to run either Oracle or third-party apps, although Oracle is positioning it as a Java middleware platform. It consists of the following major components integrated into a single rack:
Oracle x86 or T3-based servers and storage.
Oracle Quad-rate Infiniband switches and the Oracle Solaris gateway, which makes the Infiniband network look like an extension of the enterprise 10G Ethernet environment.
Oracle Linux or Solaris.
Oracle Enterprise Manager Ops Center for management.