Much of the attraction of public cloud services can be attributed to how comparatively simple it is to spin up and then manage virtual machines. In contrast, much of the management of on-premise systems is downright manual. For that reason, interest in the rise of software-defined data centers is high, even though actual adoption of that class of software remains relatively low.
However, with the rise of hyperconverged systems that blur the line between storage and compute by moving primary storage onto flash memory plugged directly into a server, software-defined approaches to managing hyperconvergence will soon make private clouds a much more attractive alternative to public clouds for many IT organizations, said Alan Atkinson, vice president and general manager for Dell Storage.
Not only does hyperconvergence reduce the cost of computing, it drives down the cost of managing the overall IT environment, Atkinson said. Where many organizations once needed separate server and storage management teams, a hyperconverged platform enables one team to manage both.
But the biggest advantage a hyperconverged platform provides comes in the form of application performance, he said. While it may be practical to run batch applications in a public cloud, any application running on a cloud service still has to be accessed over a wide area network (WAN). That requirement introduces network latency that adversely affects application performance. In contrast, a hyperconverged platform now generally makes use of multiple processor cores to access locally attached flash memory at levels of performance that a public cloud is not going to be able to match.
In fact, 451 Research forecasts that 79 percent of IT organizations plan to spend more on converged infrastructure in 2016.
The rise of hyperconvergence in the data center is one of the primary reasons Dell is acquiring EMC. While the use of public cloud services will continue to grow, Dell envisions a resurgence of interest in data centers that while being much smaller than they are today, actually deliver several orders of magnitude more bang for the processing dollar than ever, Atkinson said.
For solution providers across the channel, that resurgence could significantly accelerate the adoption of private clouds. While most IT organizations today would prefer to build their own private cloud, the complexity associated with accomplishing that goal has slowed actual deployments. In the not-too-distant future, however, those private clouds are about to become a whole lot simpler to build, deploy and, most importantly, manage.
Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.