[KANALRÖST] Times are tough for the IT infrastructure team.
Not only do they face the continuous challenge of keeping the lights on within their enterprise cloud, now they have to provide and support the technology that is being used to support innovation across their organisation and beyond it. Virtualisation, the cloud, software-defined, digital transformation and the increasing phenomenon of business units sourcing solutions directly, have made it much harder for the infrastructure team to control, manage and administer the organisation’s IT.
IT infrastructure is increasing in complexity at the same time as businesses are seeking to adopt a DevOps model to accelerate development efforts and deliver new applications and services. Unsurprisingly, the growing emphasis on DevOps is placing an extra burden on infrastructure teams that are already struggling to cope with the digital transformation of their organisations. Traditional storage systems are often unable to match DevOps’ requirements for an enterprise infrastructure that is simple, flexible and automated.
In addition to the demands on the infrastructure team to service the DevOps model, there are occasional tensions between development and IT operations because of their very different approaches to infrastructure. The priorities for the IT operations team, which has significant experience with traditional storage hardware solutions, are accelerated release cycles, availability, reliability and streamlined data management. Developers, on the other hand, spend very little time thinking about what technology is needed and are more focused on keeping test data up to date with production, having easy access to capacity when needed and programmability.
Set against this backdrop, choosing the right platform to underpin these growing changes within the enterprise cloud can play a big part in ensuring that the DevOps model works for the organisation and makes life easier for the IT infrastructure team. There are five major issues that need to be addressed to make the enterprise cloud infrastructure fit for purpose for a DevOps model:
- copy data management;
- data protection and DR;
- Quality of Service (QoS) and performance guarantees;
- monitoring and troubleshooting;
Copy data management provides up to date “virtual” copies to the DevOps team, eliminating the need for physical data duplication, removing the load on production storage and protecting the performance of applications. With snapshots, cloning and replication, modern enterprise cloud systems can enable the creation of data copies. The same technologies make it possible to protect and manage the development side of the environment in case of failure or data corruption.
QoS and guaranteed performance is a significant concern when adopting DevOps. QoS enables IT to control how the performance of a storage system is allocated to different workloads. QoS can set a ceiling on the number of IOPS or maximum bandwidth consumed and establish a floor for the minimum IOPS or bandwidth. The ability to configure QoS at the VM or vDisk level is also possible. With the power of all-flash, DevOps can be consolidated on the same platform as production. This makes it easier to access production data sets and reduces the storage footprint.
The ability to monitor the infrastructure and correct problems and misconfigurations rapidly is of great value when moving to a DevOps environment with continuous integration and continuous deployment. Ideally, the foundations of an enterprise cloud platform should provide basic and advanced monitoring capabilities, predictive analytics, integration with other monitoring tools and VM-level monitoring.
From an infrastructure point of view, it is also critical to provide the capability to provision and manage IT infrastructure programmatically. Automation enables organisations to create and break down environments as required, incorporate advanced features such as snapshots and cloning as part of daily workflows and eliminate the potential for error from manual or interactive configuration.
As the organisation moves relentlessly towards a mixture of virtual and physical, on-premises and cloud-based IT, the infrastructure team has to be able to manage, control and administer all those resources while matching them to a diverse range of business, development and user requirements. By implementing an enterprise cloud platform that can work across physical and virtual environments, the infrastructure team will help to ensure DevOps can achieve its goals without being constrained by issues around performance, scalability, manageability, resilience or flexibility.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to replicate the agility of public cloud within the data centre and make it easier to manage enterprise and cloud-native applications. Virtualisation-aware storage can eradicate the need for LUNs and volumes by allowing organisations to work at the VM and container level. And with the provision of clean REST APIs, it is possible to connect all-flash to compute, network and other elements of the cloud and see and share across the entire infrastructure. This approach can help support the DevOps model and ensure it is implemented with as little friction and disruption to the infrastructure as possible.
David Griffiths, EMEA VP, Tintri