Hyperconvergence for ROBOs and the Datacenter — Virtualization Review

An IT industry analyst article published by Virtualization Review.

Convergence is a happy word to a lot of busy IT folks working long hours still standing up large complex stacks of infrastructure (despite having virtualized their legacy server sprawl), much less trying to deploy and manage mini-data centers out in tens, hundreds, or even thousands of remote or branch offices (ROBOs).

Most virtualized IT shops need to run lean and mean, and many find it challenging to integrate and operate all the real equipment that goes into the main datacenter: hypervisors, compute clusters, SANs, storage arrays, IP networks, load balancers, WAN optimizers, cloud gateways, backup devices and more. From a logical perspective, when you multiply the number of heterogeneous components by a number of remote locations, the “scale” of IT to manage climbs very fast. If you factor together the number of possible locations and interactions, the challenges of managing at scale can grow non-linearly (i.e., exponentially).

…(read the complete as-published article there)

Converged Infrastructure in the Branch: Riverbed Granite Becomes SteelFusion

(Excerpt from original post on the Taneja Group News Blog)

With today’s rebranding of Riverbed Granite as SteelFusion, Riverbed is prodding all branch IT owners (and vested users) to step up and consider what branch IT should ideally look like. Instead of a disparate package of network optimization, remote servers and storage arrays, difficult if not foresworn data protection approaches, and independently maintained branch applications and IT support, simple converged SteelFusion edge appliances sit in the branch to provide local computing performance but work on “projected” data that is actually consolidated and protected back in the data center.

…(read the full post)

Enterprise Storage Projected to Branch Locations: Riverbed and IBM Team Up

(Excerpt from original post on the Taneja Group News Blog)

I just had the pleasure of sitting with Rob Whitely from Riverbed and Michelle Tidwell from IBM to discuss their jointly validated solution that combines IBM enterprise class storage in the data center with Riverbed Granite in branch locations. Together, the result is as if you had enterprise class storage in each branch location, but really all data is managed and protected in the data center.  And each branch gains resiliency to network failures and local storage performance. 

…(read the full post)

Accelerate the Edge: The New Distributed Enterprise

An IT industry analyst article published by Infostor.

by Mike Matchett

Here at Taneja Group, we think enterprises ought to be agile and flexible, quickly leveraging their forward deployed remote and branch offices as a competitive weapon to gain market opportunity with the presence that only a physical office brings. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that as a business expands its footprint into new regions it can also suffer major growing pains with slow unwieldy deployment and an increasingly costly IT burden.

The traditional approach to remote and branch office IT relies on locally deployed infrastructure and admin skills. Unfortunately, this often makes these “edge of network” offices cost-inefficient, inflexible, painful to support, and left operating at high risk of downtime and data loss if not complete operational failure. In many ways “field” deployed servers and storage act as big anchors holding back potential business velocity.

A big part of this problem isn’t just managing physical resources – it’s also about controlling data. For governance, integrity, and business continuity reasons, getting a complete handle on data that is primarily maintained in remote offices far from a data center presents IT with a significant challenge. Data tends to spread out at a big expense when attempting to also distribute suitable IT controls and management.

What the new agile distributed enterprise needs are solutions that consolidate data under centralized IT control while supporting business productivity at the business “edges” – and even helping accelerate it.

At the CIO level, the biggest challenges stem from having critical corporate data exist in multiple remote locations. Maintaining current data at branch offices is a key business enabler helping drive local business decisions, but at the same time corporate analysis of centralized data can provide strategic business intelligence. This data spread also has obvious security and cost of capacity concerns, but perhaps most concerning is providing for appropriate data protection and disaster recovery.

There are many solutions in the market aimed at backing up remote systems, but ask anyone who has had to restore a remote office with them and you will likely hear that it’s a long, suspenseful process, far from guaranteed. And the point of remote offices is that they aren’t located in secure raised-floor facilities, but are found in places where they can readily suffer power and connectivity problems, not to mention common environmental and location hazards (e.g. broken pipes, spilled coffee, or untrained staff “help”).

This challenge is only increasing for businesses where the main action is in their branch offices. There is constant pressure to increasingly distribute IT processing for local “point of the sword” productivity, agility, and innovation. Unfortunately, physical IT resources and staff are hard to parcel out effectively or efficiently – there can be a serious mismatch in distributed capabilities between IT and the business, what IT folks might call branch office “impedance”.

[We] see four evolving practices that can not only alleviate this misalignment at scale, but can actually magnify IT capabilities at the remote branch…

…(read the complete as-published article there)

Cloud has a silver lining for ROBO storage

An IT industry analyst article published by SearchDataBackup.

Providing and managing storage for remote and branch offices can be a challenge, but a hybrid approach using local and cloud-based storage may be the best solution.

article_Cloud-has-a-silver-lining-for-ROBO-storageStorage managers know that providing great data storage services to remote or branch offices (ROBOs) isn’t simply a matter of replicating a single, small office solution or extending data center storage to each ROBO with a WAN. But some vendors still insist that their traditional storage and data protection products can easily extend to cover ROBO needs, perhaps with just a few add-ons, a third-party product or two, and a bit of custom scripting. What they don’t mention is how quickly costs can climb, how tough management can be, and what to do with users who aren’t happy about compromising performance, accessibility or protection.

But there is hope. I’ve seen a couple of key trends that bode well for ROBO storage. First, cloud-based and cloud-enabled services are providing new opportunities to rethink and redesign storage services for distributed and mobile use cases. ROBOs are by definition distributed, and their users tend to be highly mobile. Second, some vendors are taking advantage of cloud services to build specific products to address ROBO storage challenges.

…(read the complete as-published article there)