Should it Stay or Should it Go


A combination of public cloud services, dedicated private cloud, and traditional IT platforms supporting various applications.

As 2014 closed and the new year began, a flurry of predictions came down the pike, and I couldn’t help but notice a recurring theme: 2015 is the year of hybrid cloud. Though estimates vary by pundit, 60-70% of companies are expected to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy this year.

More than 65% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud technologies before 2016, vastly driving the rate and pace of change in IT organizations. IDC

Companies making the shift to hybrid cloud will have to address a number of storage-related issues, including:

  • Deciding which workloads “stay” (private cloud) and which “go” (public cloud)
  • Choosing a cloud services provider
  • Identifying the right infrastructure for private cloud
  • Formulating a storage management strategy in a hybrid cloud

In this blog, I’ll cover the first issue and discuss aspects related to the others in future blogs.

Better out than in?

With the touted benefits of public cloud, including tantalizing storage pricing, who needs private cloud? Why bother going through the hassle of vetting, purchasing, installing, training, and tuning storage hardware for an on-premises private cloud? As Shrek and Fiona say, better out than in, right? After all, public cloud ostensibly eliminates many (though not all) of these headaches.

As it turns out, and with all due respect to my favorite ogres, companies are averse to storing a fair amount of their data in the public cloud for a number of good reasons such as:

  • A preference to have tight control over certain workloads – e.g., mission critical, strategic ones – that are crucial to a business
  • Regulations or compliance guidelines restricting the location of data to defined locales
  • Concerns about security, data breaches, etc.

The workload prism: What to leave in, what to leave out

So how can companies decide what workloads “stay” and which “go?” One approach is to pass workloads through a prism in order to categorize workloads based on attributes such as performance, data value, security, compliance, regulations, etc.

Workloads are classified in buckets with titles such as “mission critical,” “core,” “commodity,” “born-on-cloud,” “strategic,” etc. These buckets are a good indicator of whether workloads should be kept in a private cloud (on- or off-prem) or in a public cloud.

Obviously, this is a suggested path for a starting point. As the value of data changes over time, it could be moved to the appropriate media and location, on-prem or off-prem.

Here are two sources that can be helpful in going forward with a workload classification:

Hybrid cloud just over the horizon

The era of hybrid cloud is here. If you haven’t already done so, get educated on optimal paths for storage and the various cloud models. The Internet is chock full of great materials to get you moving. For starters, head to the links in this blog as well as the IBM Hybrid Cloud landing page.


End of year storage reflections with XIV’s Ayelet Shomer

Ayelet Shomer

Ayelet Shomer,  IBM XIV Business Line Manager

I am fortunate to have my office in the epicenter of IBM’s  XIV “universe,” where development, business line, product, and marketing activities take place. So I get to rub elbows with the bright, energized folks who live, breathe and, yes, love XIV. Last week, I caught up with one of these great folks: XIV business line manager Ayelet Shomer. Over tea, Ayelet shared her end of year thoughts on the storage market and XIV.

Q: What are your impressions of the storage market?
: I see two significant changes today. First, there’s massive data growth. In the past, companies acquired storage for linear growth. What we at IBM call CAMSS [Cloud, Analytics, Mobile, Social, Security] is causing exponential data growth, and traditional storage models simply can’t cope. Storage needs to be more efficient and simpler, so that it can absorb the massive data tsunami. Second, time to market for applications and businesses is very quick today. There’s no time for the old models of infrastructure acquisition, installation, configuration, tuning, and application development. So today, companies need storage technologies that are dynamic, agile, and easily “consumed.”

Q: What are the biggest challenges and opportunities for storage admins?
 In addition to coping with data growth and the need for quick time to market, storage administrators have to broaden their horizons. They can’t afford to focus on one storage solution that does one thing well. Storage is not “siloed” anymore; it isn’t only in one data center or stored on one platform – it’s distributed, on-premise, off-premise, a mix of media types, and in private and public cloud combinations. So storage needs to work well across all of these platforms just as it provides performance and advanced data services. In software-defined storage terminology, both control and data planes are needed for efficient storage.

These shifts are an opportunity for admins as new technologies enter the market. They’re also an opportunity for vendors who can provide proven solutions that can be used in different environments in a well-integrated manner.

Q:  In which verticals does XIV have or see the most traction?
 Because of its inherent characteristics, XIV is found across many industries. You can see from the references on our web page that these include finance, telco, healthcare, MSPs, etc. From our experience, these companies tend to be innovators, have a lot of data, and have a tendency to be very dynamic. XIV has the “cool” factor alongside two other things: a rich feature set (e.g., mirroring, snapshots, DR) and the maturity needed for acceptance in an enterprise environment.

Q: What is that cool factor, and how does it get customers to their goals?
 XIV has a unique mix of technology and simplicity. It caters to the needs of specific business lines without the complexity of storage management that other solutions involve. In fact, I like to say that we help our customers by efficiently managing unavoidable storage complexities.

And this is true beyond technology. In 2014, we introduced new acquisition programs such as Advanced System Placement and the XIV Cloud Storage for Service Providers offering that add simplicity and flexibility to the purchase of storage.

Q: IBM positions XIV as a go-to for cloud storage. Can you speak to that?
 Sure. Many organizations are deploying a private cloud and/or identifying workloads that can be placed on public cloud.  XIV is an ideal storage foundation for cloud. Many enterprises and MSPs tell us that XIV delivers the predictability and reliability needed for cloud while at the same time avoiding complexity. XIV predictability is evident in so many ways. Just two examples: XIV works with mixed, dynamic workloads without the need for tuning, and it scales linearly, again without tuning or hotspots.

Q: Looking back, what were some of the biggest XIV achievements of the year?
 2014 was a great year for XIV on all fronts. We brought much to the market: cloud features such as multi-tenancy, OpenStack and VMware vCloud Suite integration, while addressing key enterprise requirements such as three-site mirroring. And I can tell you two things: the market likes what it sees, and our customers like our responsiveness to their wants and needs.

Q: Any parting words?
Yes, as always, much thanks to our loyal customer base. And of course, happy holidays, happy New Year, and here’s to a great 2015.

Disclaimer: My questions and Ayelet’s answers are our own words and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.