Road to VMworld 2013

Why You'll Be Seeing More Converged Solutions

Ravi Chalaka, vice president of solutions marketing at Hitachi Data Systems, recently sat down with Virtualization Review magazine to discuss trends in virtualization and how HDS is addressing them.

Ravi Chalaka, vice president of solutions marketing at Hitachi Data Systems, recently sat down with Virtualization Review magazine to discuss trends in virtualization and how HDS is addressing them.

VRM: What is the latest trend in updating the virtual infrastructure, and why is it emerging?

Ravi Chalaka: Converged solutions are now the new trend in the marketplace. In the past, what happened is customers were buying different components of hardware and then slapping virtualization hypervisor on it, and then deploying a virtual environment. Now IT organizations are trying to go beyond that and develop private clouds or hybrid clouds, and they need the same type of infrastructure, the same hypervisor, but they want it pre-optimized, pre-integrated and pre-configured for fast deployment.

There are a lot of inefficiencies in the datacenter today, which are causing IT professionals to spend an inordinate amount of their staff time and investment on activities that are not helping them use their resources effectively both before and after deployment. They're dealing with a lot of issues with optimizing their environment. They're buying storage from one place, servers from another place, the hypervisor from another, switches from another, and then they're sprucing it up with things like Flash and other stuff and bringing it all together. It's like buying parts, building your own airplane, testing it and flying it.

Even some big companies who have people they can put into the effort to cobble things together, it's not done when it's done. They're also required to constantly change it with new demands placed on them and new technology coming in. They're spending a good quarter of their resources redeveloping. In addition, approximately 80 percent of their production resources are spent on day-to-day management and maintenance. And, even with the investment that they've made, they're not utilizing fully their investments because the applications are all in silos. IT and the business are not able to share resources effectively, and hence the drive to converged systems.

VRM: Is there a parallel of sorts between the pre-virtualized IT silos of 10-15 years ago and virtual infrastructure today?

Chalaka: Pre-virtualized IT from 10-plus years ago did not consolidate servers, and hence apps ran on infrastructures that were not utilized effectively. Then over the last 10 years, the era of virtualization allowed for server consolidation. This was the first step into modernizing data centers to private clouds.

Today there are a number of tier-one apps that are still not virtualized, with only about 25 percent virtualized. Also much of infrastructure management is still manual requiring many resources.

Convergence of storage, network and server with an automated environment, is the next step after virtualizing. If you want to progress, you converge the infrastructure, you automate the processes, and then add a self-serve portal so the users can get what they want, when they want and pay for what they use. All of that has not come together fully, but that progression is happening right now.

VRM: And this is where HDS steps in, right?

Chalaka: We are converging the network, the storage, the server. Even within that, if you need backup, if you need Flash technology, we can integrate all that and revalidate it and make it available to customers. We can also automate a lot of functions; for instance, we can take the daily manual activity of provisioning new storage or provisioning new networks and do it with a couple of clicks rather than requiring two or three IT admins and few days to provision the next 30 virtual machines. Right now, in most IT departments, the virtual environment does not know the physical environment. They're two different entities, and we're trying to bring it all together. Then we do the final step of enabling a self-service portal. Those are the steps in transforming IT into a true cloud service model.

VRM: Where are most IT departments in the process of creating a converged virtual infrastructure?

Chalaka: I'd say that you'll find customers across the entire spectrum, but the bulk of the market hasn't fully developed private clouds all the way through. This is because, until now there was not an easy way to orchestrate all your infrastructure easily, which is why customers are still using or considering public cloud services for tier-two apps. However, their primary core apps and workload are still in the original form. Overall about 50 percent of all applications are virtualized. About 5 to 10 percent are converged. Then there's a similar 5 to 10 percent that are in self-service portals. Most data centers are a long way from really turning IT into a private cloud-type environment that can compete effectively with ease of deployment and management offered by Amazon and Google and other public cloud services.

VRM: What's the advantage of a private cloud over a public cloud service?

Chalaka: The most important is security. You're not going to put the crown jewels of your company into a public area.

Another important priority is these core apps need high performance and always be available. It has to meet stringent service levels. It's about how quickly and how well can I serve and support my business. If I'm running a bank and I cannot slow my systems down, I'm not going to use a public cloud because, to me, scale and performance are extremely important. I'm trying to make sure that what I'm serving my client is continuing to be there without any security issues. That's the reason to use a private cloud. We can't imagine a bank putting its data on the public cloud and saying, "Great, now we've saved ourselves $10 million a year." One lawsuit can blow away many times that savings.

For more on Hitachi Data Systems, go to www.hds.com/.

About the Author

Lee Pender is the executive features editor of Redmond magazine. You can reach him at lpender@redmondmag.com or follow him on Twitter.

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