The True Flexibility of the Data Center

By Greg Campbell, Principal & Vice President of Technology, Yottabyte

What are the fundamental building blocks of a datacenter?  Some might say servers, storage and switches; others would say the components that make up those devices.  Yottabyte takes a different view.  Technology for technology's sake is pointless; it is what you do with the technology that really matters.

A switch with nothing to interconnect is of use to no one.  A CPU is worthless without the rest of the server, and a server does nothing without applications to run on it.  It’s the applications – or, more specifically the work those applications do – that gives purpose to the totality of today's IT industry.

Businesses don't buy CPUs.  Nor do they buy servers.  They do not set out to buy a specific model of any piece of technology and built up justifications and rationale around that purchase.

Businesses buy results.  They start at the end of the problem chain – what they want to accomplish – and work their way back to the beginning: what resources do I need to accomplish my desired outcome?

Specific applications enable specific results.  What is required to run those applications is relevant only insofar as the infrastructure under consideration is cost effective, adequately performant and fits within the business requirements for ease of use.  Operating systems, hypervisors and every layer of hardware and software all the way down the stack can all be replaced or interchanged if there is a sufficient reason to do so.

Given then that the focus of business is on applications and the data that they create for the purpose of transforming these data into information about the business, then the fundamental building block of the datacenter is the whole datacenter infrastructure itself, built for the express purpose of running business application workloads.

Yottabyte provides the software that delivers results business need, but it is Intel's hardware technologies that make this possible.  Intel provides storage in the form of Solid State Drives (SSDs) that are the most reliable and performant in the business.  The Intel Xeon processor E5 v4 Family offers unprecedented speed and critical functionality through features such as Intel Advanced Vector Extensions (Intel AVX).  Similarly, Intel networking provides the stability and reliability Yottabyte requires to provide solutions which simply wouldn't function without a dependable network stack.

Intel's injection of value doesn't end with supplying hardware.   Through its Storage Builders program Intel has provided valuable advice and support.  Less time spent worrying about the vagaries of hardware issues means more time spent doing what we do best: worrying about the details that matter to the customer.

The atomic datacenter

Yottabyte specializes in packing all the capabilities of a datacenter into a small package, which we call YottaBlox.  The adequately skeptical individual, of course, will ask questions about what constitutes "all the capabilities of a datacenter," and rightly so.  There are plenty of vendors making claims along these lines, and all of us have had to learn to live with disappointment regarding those claims.

Yottabyte doesn't believe in offering up a hyper-converged box that marries storage with compute and calling it a day.  Adding in some basic networking capabilities doesn't tip the scales towards "datacenter in a can" either.  To deliver on the promise, much, much more is required.

Today's datacenters need to be turnkey cloud services.  This means hardware, hypervisors and management software all provided as a unit and without the need to license the hypervisor before you can start working.

Let’s not forget, the datacenter is a multi-tenant affair.  This means self-service portals for end consumers of resources.  The use of policies and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) to allow different classes of customer different capabilities.  A datacenter needs to deliver different tiers of performance and guarantee Quality of Service (QoS) for critical workloads.

A datacenter should make deploying workloads easy, allowing customers to utilize templates and recipes to create a marketplace of operable environments and applications.  Infrastructure needs to be usable from a user-friendly GUI as well as through a RESTful API.  Snapshots, clones, backups and disaster recovery options need to be available at the workload level as well as at the level of the entire datacenter.

This is what Yottabyte views as the fundamental building block of the datacenter.  The resource unit of the datacenter is the datacenter infrastructure itself.   Everything about the datacenter is a feature, not the final product to be purchased or sold.

Datacenters as they should be

Yottabyte took all the above and wrapped it up as a single offering, and then we let you make as many datacenters as you want.  A single YottaBlox is a fully redundant hardware appliance and multiple YottaBlox can be joined together into a single cluster.

A YottaBlox can house multiple Virtual Datacenters (VDCs).  These VDCs can be moved between YottaBlox, or to yCenter-compatible clouds hosted by Yottabyte or third-party service providers.

Yottabyte allows customers to move individual workloads or entire VDCs.  A VDC can be hundreds of VMs, or a single one.  Those VMs which make up a single service can be wrapped together into a single VDC and moved, copied, backed up or otherwise manipulated easily as a whole.

This is how datacenters should be: exactly as large or as small as is needed.  With the focus on the application instead of the infrastructure, and with all the rest taken care of, right out of the box through smart, configurable software.  That's Yottabyte's vision of the future of the datacenter, and it’s what we deliver.