The Rise of Federation: Innovating the Data Layer

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In August, I had the opportunity to deliver a keynote address at SHARE Conference in Anaheim. SHARE is an industry wide Mainframe conference that attracts more than one thousand Mainframe participants and large multi-national companies. EMC and its Enterprise Storage Division have a strong presence in Mainframe environments and have served this market since its foundation. As someone who has developed information technology products for more than 30 years, this is by far the most exciting time period that I’ve seen to date; and those in the audience shared in my excitement.

Cloud and Big Data are two of the biggest trends that are changing the IT landscape, and these mega trends are really top of mind for CIOs because they help businesses run smarter and more efficiently. Critical to this conversation is the hybrid cloud, a combination of your data center (private cloud) — which is becoming more and more virtualized, and your trusted service provider (public cloud).

The industry’s take on hybrid cloud is that it is more predictable and reliable than simply using a public cloud and gives you control over the infrastructure so your data is not exposed to any compromises.

The success of hybrid cloud is dependent on having the ability to dissolve the distance between the public and the private cloud with technology. The benefit is having the freedom of moving applications and the information of those apps to-and-from the data center without your customers ever knowing.

Moving massive amounts of information from your own data center to your service provider can be very difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Things like technology refresh and data migration will soon become artifacts of the past. When new information is created, it needs to be active around the globe, in real-time.

Clouds of the future need to be connected from the data center to the service provider, and the branch office. Eliminating data center boundaries provides better caching technologies that shorten the latencies between these data centers and enables seamless workload migration across geographies.

Innovation at the data layer becomes even more critical in the future as we approach large petascale environments. For decades, servers have talked to servers, and servers have talked to storage and other peripheral devices, but for whatever reason, storage devices could never really talk to each other.  

Up until now.

Common language among peers is beginning to arrive and I call that, federation. As we look at the IT operations in the data center, or in the service provider, it’s very important that this technology around federation begins to rise and become predominant.

Federation with automation will enable IT-as-a-Service.

For years, customers have used System Managed Storage (SMS) and Hierarchical Storage Management (HSM) to move data sets between memory, disk and tape. At the time, this was good enough. Now, we have proven that federation, along with technologies like Fully Automated Storage Tiering (FAST), are complementary and provide greater efficiencies as they run together. This enables better automation, reduces cost of capital and operational costs of the data center. Hybrid cloud environments can provide better agility and efficiency and deliver on the promise of more flexibility and business agility.

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