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SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?

Trevor_Pott Gold badge

The honest answer to that? Big Data. There are dozens of companies right now offering various cloud-based analytics software offerings that place an "observer" or "agent" in your datacenter. They then hoover up fucking everything. Every scrap of performance data. What's installed where. Peaks and valleys in response times for various infrastructure components, you name it. (See: Cloudphysics, amongst many, many others.)

Then you get into companies like VMTurbo that are now using this data to predict required changes and configurations...and they're getting quite good at it, even when they don't have access to Cloudphysics-like datasets.

Now, as a large company, you start buying these guys up. Not for the software they offer, but because they employ the best Big Data PhDs in the world, and they have amassed petabytes of data that is supremely useful for building out this level of automation. Your first generation robot handlers rely on statically collected information from volunteer canaries and non-automated deployments still using the cloudy analytics stuff. Not perfect, but that's okay, you're not automating the whole world yet; it's early days.

Meanwhile, the boffins are in the back room correlating application design and hardware design with various statistics and building models of how changes in applications will affect the results...then testing them. They are learning to build highly accurate predictive mechanisms that will make VMTurbo look like a child's toy.

And on and on it goes, getting ever more accurate. Instead of needing the "laying of hands" from the High Priests, this sort of stuff is dealt with by using empirical data, advanced prediction algorithms and high-reactivity monitoring that will catch any deviations from the predicted algorithms, adapt, feed that information back into the Big Data systems and refine the algorithms some more.

I should also point out that I've seen prototypes of this stuff actually working, and working on software and configurations never before seen by the prediction algorithms. I've seen them working on dynamic workloads. When you're a tech journalist, you get to see some of these stealth-mode startups. And then you start putting what they offer together with what these other guys offer, and you see that this company is making these acquisitions over here...

So..."how will all this black box magic voodoo work?" The same way a B2 Spirit Bomber stays in the air. Damned fine engineering. Modelling, modelling, modelling, and a fly-by-wire system that makes changes faster than any human could ever dream of doing.

You are about to become obsolete, sirrah. I know you won't believe that until it's upon you and you are staring at your own pink slip, but It's time to upskill.

Resizing LUNs does not add value to the business.

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