IBM: Flash Storage Accelerates Hybrid Clouds Based on Containers

Middleware technologies wrapped in containers that will be deployed on Flash-enabled systems are at the heart of an IBM approach to hybrid cloud computing that will unfold in the months ahead.

Edward Walsh, general manager for storage and software-defined infrastructure (SDI) for IBM Systems Group, says IBM working toward making its entire portfolio of middleware technologies available as Docker containers that can be deployed on-premises or in a public cloud. Once those technologies become available as containers, Walsh says the I/O requirements associated with those middleware technologies deployed as containers will require more reliance on both local and Flash memory. Not every application in the enterprise may need access to Flash memory, but Walsh says it will make sense from a performance perspective to make sure middleware deployed as container is able to access as much memory as possible.

While most IT organizations have perceived hybrid cloud computing as being their ultimate strategic goal it’s only been with the rise of containers that many organizations have been able to turn hybrid cloud computing from theory into reality. Via a container it’s now even possible to lift and shift entire enterprise applications into the cloud. Most organizations, however, are opting to run elements of those applications on-premises and in the cloud depending on how much of their data is residing where. Today most data is still housed on-premises. But as more data gets generated by cloud applications, it’s only matter of time before more IT organizations employ a more federated approach to middleware as part of a hybrid cloud strategy.

Walsh says that in most cases, hybrid cloud computing environments will continue to be managed by internal IT operations. But organizations that find managing hybrid cloud computing environments too challenging can also invoke managed services provided by IBM.

To accelerate adoption of Flash-enabled hybrid clouds, IBM will also be certifying a variety of third-party middleware technologies as well to create reference architectures that will make it easier for IT organizations to deploy. Many of those middleware platforms, says Walsh, will be employed to drive any number of types and classes of microservices accessing data from a variety of clusters. In fact, Walsh notes that much of the DevOps focus in the future will be on increasing utilization rates of a variety of clusters such as Hadoop and Kubernetes.

Accomplishing that goal will require make it simpler for thousands of microservices to a common pool of clusters consisting of both Flash memory and traditional magnetic storage devices.

No can be certain how quickly microservices and containers will accelerate adoption of hybrid clouds. But as more containers are deployed, many IT organizations will discover they have made a hybrid cloud transition. It may not have been a deliberate decision. But a few weeks after embracing containers many IT organizations will be surprised to discover just how modernized their IT environments can become with just a bare minimum amount of disruption to existing legacy applications.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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