WESTCON IMAGINE 2014: Build a private Cloud but don’t forget the software, says EMC

Public Cloud doesn’t work for everyone, and throwing hardware at problems won’t always fix them

EMC's Darren Reynolds.

EMC's Darren Reynolds.

Cloud infrastructure is under pressure to adapt to storage, security and network demands, but while public Cloud has produced success stories, it should not be a go-to for everyone, according to EMC Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) pre-sales manager, Darren Reynolds.

Speaking at Westcon Imagine 2014, Reynolds said there are a couple of ways forward.

“We can continue down the hardware approach where we throw hardware at the problem and have a small layer of software on top,” he said. “EMC has done that for a long time but we have realised that it’s not the future.”

“We are moving towards this software-defined approach; using existing infrastructure or new generations of it, with automation across it. It’s the software layer that allows that automation.”

According to Reynolds, every senior executive across EMC’s product groups has been ordered to create software-only version of solutions within the next 12 months, including storage arrays and backup, for example.

“To be effective with software-defined infrastructure or datacentre, we need to software-define up and down and horizontally across the stack.”

Reynolds said this created a two-dimension virtualisation layer or Cloud operating system.

Private building

Building a private Cloud infrastructure is a choice of three options, Reynolds claims: best of breed, build your own, or fully converged.

Best of breed means picking the most suitable storage, networking, software, and compute elements. Reynolds labels this option a flexible but complex one; it requires skills and knowledge to be properly implemented.

But even once those capabilities are attained, the big issue lies down the track when it comes to up-scaling and management on the back of increase storage demands or complications.

The fully converged infrastructure option, or turnkey appliance, sits at the opposite end of the spectrum; organisations can purchase a rack, switch it on, and run applications while scaling as required.

Reynolds said it is a viable option for large-scale deployments which require significant units of infrastructure.

Mid-way sits the proven infrastructure or reference architecture. EMC claims it has worked closely with business partners to integrate and test solutions across a range of applications to deliver low-risk implementations while maintain the simplicity provided by a pure turnkey solution.

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