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VCE Vision is an advanced architecture for converged infrastructure management that discovers system health and compliance and federates the data so that multiple system’s health and compliance can be managed from a single dashboard, as well as share that information with other IT management tools. The architecture is depicted in Figure 1.
Figure 1 : VCE VISION Software Architecture
The architecture is comprised of 2 main modules: Core and Multi-Systems Management (MSM). Both reside on each VCE System’s AMP (Advanced Management Platform), but in separate virtual machines. It communicates with VCE System components’ element managers and individual devices directly over a variety of southbound protocols and methods. It also Collects the data and transforms it into functional streams – VCE System inventory, capacity, health, logs and events ; processes and stores the data in a PostgreSQL relational database management system. Finally, it provides the Core services and applications with a common platform (a RabbitMQ Message Broker) to send and receive messages asynchronously and ensures the persistence of messages until delivery to a consumer passes data northbound to the MSM (for Vision dashboard visualization) and to third-party tools such as: VMware vCenter Web Client via a Plug-in.
After knowing the architecture of the product. the automatic question that comes to our mind is why we need the above product and why it is important. The average amount of resources(around 70%) that modern IT organization requires for operations is just to “keeping the lights on” in order to perform many routine activities like Integrating technologies , upgrading them with new firmware, monitoring and securing them. To put into perspective, the siloed nature of traditional infrastructure and operations are largely responsible for this high cost of operations and inefficiency. In this context, a large US manufacturer recently told me that they don’t even have the time to deploy new applications to drive new business. They have also stated that they need too many maintenance windows just for upgrading firmware. Even worse -- untested releases cause outages! They need a proper panacea for all these nightmares.
I feel that VCE Vision software solves these problems -- so we can spend less time “keeping the lights on” in our data center and devote more resources onto new projects that grow the business as depicted in Figure 2.
Figure 2 : Transition to Vision Dashboard
Each VCE System’s health and compliance status is on the dashboard directly below the top-level information as shown in figure 3.
Figure 3: Single Dashboard for Vision 3.3 software.
From Figure 3 users can know at-a-glance about converged system health and compliance risks around all VCE systems. It also helps us proactively to address risks before they impact businesses – or escalate them quickly if they have impacted business. In figure 3 we see that a heat map gets generated which indicates system health issues are evolving based on the availability of system architectures’ redundant components. In this figure 3 we also see many out-of compliance components and its type in the system “Failed components” which shows components that got failed in Vision’s automated RCM (firmware/software release) and Security hardening policy compliance audits. All the benefits are discussed in side labels of figure 3. In short we get the following benefits from the VCE Vision software :-
This time I attended the Oracle Open world,2016(OOW16) and found that the emphasis is on 3 major pillars like cloud computing, big data and in-memory database. In addition, it has been announced that oracle will be working on non-volatile memory and will be engaged in improving and innovating the new features of its in-memory databases. So far as releasing the database version 12c release 2 is concerned there are many areas where we see many innovations in the multitenancy categories like online clones, refresh and relocation. Also, a column store will be added to Active data guard for performance boosting. In OOW16 we have seen that the shift is from Disk-based to In-Memory databases, from Data Warehouse to Big Data and from On-Premise to database Optimized Cloud as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Oracle’s technology direction in coming days
In line with the above direction, oracle made many announcements for 12.2 which is slated to be available on November , 2016. I would like to discuss some new features in the multiple areas for 12.2. Firstly, the In-Memory database will run on Active standby Data Guard. It has been claimed by Oracle that the real-time analytics has no impact on the database as it makes productive use of standby database resources. In this database version, the in-memory format can now be used in Smart Columnar Flash cache. It will also facilitate the in-memory optimizations on data in Exadata Flash cache. We can also expect to see the improvement of the in-memory performance as it will extend server DRAM seamlessly to larger flash in storage. A new feature which is very interesting to me is the increase in the number of PDBs which is upped to 4,096 per container. We can “clone, refresh, or relocate” PDBs even while they’re running, while “isolation between tenants” in the same container has been “strengthened” This new feature has been communicated by Mendelsohn(executive vice president for database server technologies at Oracle).
The most important announcement in this OOW16 is the development of the Non-volatile memory which is slated to be available on 2018. Oracle claims it will be a big disruption in the storage and in database markets. So far as announcements in big data are concerned, there may be a tectonic shift from the data warehousing to big Data as depicted in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Transforming to Big Data
In Big data space the greater innovation is towards the faster SQL access for relational, Hadoop and NoSQL databases while using Oracle Big Data SQL on JSON data. By this we mean that we can join JSON with any other data source and also can apply any SQL analytics to JSON. Big Data SQL in Oracle Cloud also identifies the JSON.
With Oracle Database 12c Release 2, Oracle is introducing Oracle Database Exadata Express Cloud Service (Exadata Express), an entry-level version of the high-performance engineered system of oracle. Starting at just $175 per month for a 20GB database, it’s a entry-level database cloud service for dev/test or production databases for departments or small businesses. Exadata Express runs Oracle Database Enterprise Edition with most options and runs on Oracle’s database-optimized Oracle Exadata infrastructure. Customers can start with a small deployment on Exadata Express and scale to large database deployments on Oracle Database Cloud Service and Oracle Exadata Cloud Service. The best features are demonstrated in Figure 3.
Figure 3 : 12c Innovations in Exadata Express Service
So far as data guard broker is concerned we have the following developments as depicted in Figure 4
Figure 4 : Data guard Broker Enhancements
In summary, I observed this time and in last couple of years (in OOW) the Database technology is moving towards a new, different & innovative direction rapidly, especially in three areas viz. in-memory technology, big data analytics, and the cloud—(The same has been pronounced by Andy Mendelsohn, executive vice president for database server technologies at Oracle). Oracle is positioning and showcasing its portfolio towards cloud compatible products and it will be very interesting to note how the whole database landscape will get shaped up in terms of product quality and market competition vis-à-vis Oracle’s proclaimed competitors like Amazon .
CSR stands for corporate social responsibility and we owe a lot from the society who has felicitated us to be what we are. In this year, VCE (VMWARE-CISCO_EMC) team has adopted a school in Bangalore where I played a key role in adopting the school based on the understanding of the facilities, infrastructure and other challenges of the school and ultimately helped the students to gain knowledge in basic math, English, science , computer , Hindi etc. It was a collective effort from many volunteers in the VCE team to teach the kids and repair all the desktops in their computer labs with EMC technicians. It was a very fascinating experience to teach the kids and celebrate different occasions as you can see in the figure 1
Figure 1 : Teaching and Spending time with School Kids
When I interact with these kids I feel that there are many areas where we can make a difference to these kids. So, I started teaching these under-privileged kids with a lot of passion and enthusiasm. Before the teaching exercise I did a thorough check on the requirements of the school kids, teachers, and headmaster and also for the school in general. I found that they need a complete operational computer lab along with the basic infrastructure and comprehensive teaching that will enrich their knowledge level. This will in turn help them to become successful in their future exams and assignments. As a special request I taught them the leadership and communication skills as well. Overall, it was a very enthralling experience and I have learned how to make others successful & happy and enjoyed the joy of giving back to the society.
Hyper-converged architecture (HCI) brings together best-in-class hardware and software components (compute, networking, storage, virtualization, and management) to greatly simplify data center operations. When combined we get hyper-converged infrastructure, which integrates compute, software defined storage, networking, and virtualization into a single build block for the data center as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 : Evolution of hyper Converged Architecture
It enables compute, storage, and networking functions to be decoupled from the underlying infrastructure and run on a common set of physical resources that are based on industry-standard x86 components. These systems are built with a modular design which makes it easy and flexible to scale within the core data center. They offer rich data services and highly resilient infrastructure components, which many of today’s mission critical enterprise applications require. Traditional converged system has also proven to deliver excellent TCO while HCI and appliances deliver different benefits as depicted in Figure 2.
Figure 2 : Comparative Study between Traditional and Hyper converged Architecture
If organizations have remote, small data center and edge locations and don’t have highly skilled IT administrators available, then a hyper-converged appliance could be a great option. Simple to set up and highly automated, appliances deliver simplicity and speed at a relatively low cost of entry (compared to most ref architectures or traditional SAN). Appliances are highly configurable and are designed to start small and grow by simply adding appliances/nodes to the cluster. They provide a buy experience, which is inclusive of ongoing lifecycle management and support.
A rack scale system brings the same benefits as the stand alone appliance but on a larger scale. Core data centers are a perfect choice because like their name suggests- they can scale bigger and easier than stand alone appliances because they include the networking components like Cisco switches. Again, in the buy experience, hyper-converged, software defined but scale to extreme without difficulties.
There are several key drivers for the adoption of HCI. They are
Lower TCO - is a major factor. Savings in CapEx or initial investments are lower, and operational expenses are also lower when compared to traditional SAN architectures (this includes power and cooling, ongoing system administration, and the elimination of forklift upgrades and data migrations). HCI increases the capabilities to start small and gradually scale-up by moving to software defined software to provide the lowest TCO. In fact, hyper-converged infrastructure can deliver more than 30 percent lower TCO compared to traditional SANs.
Speed and Agility – In addition to faster time to value/deployment, IT can easily add storage and compute resources and networking to meet business demands as they grow and expand. As mentioned earlier- there’s no waiting for boxes to arrive, there’s no testing, there’s none of that- up and ready in less than a day. Simply plug it in and you are ready to go.
Scale Easily - HCI allows users to start with a small deployment (several nodes), and then flexibly and efficiently scale out to support dynamic workloads and evolving business needs (100’s or 1000+ nodes depending on the system type).
Operational Simplicity - HCI is also managed from a central console that controls both compute and storage and automates many functions, which is also driving customer interest because it helps cuts down on the number of tools that have to be learned and used.
The software-defined architecture combines multiple infrastructure components in a single solution, eliminating the need to refresh multiple siloed components – consecutively or in parallel. It enables us to pay-as-you-grow approach - start with what you need today and expand incrementally rather purchasing large amount of compute and storage up front. In addition, the software-defined architecture eliminates the need for complex migrations and forklift hardware upgrades. It also addresses the typical over-provisioning and over-purchasing that occurs when technology is intended to last for multiple year cycles.
VCE addresses all workloads issues with a broad portfolio of optimized systems: blocks, racks and appliances that can be interconnected into a single pool of resources with consistent management, operations, backup, business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.Here are some figures and data points that highlight VCE’s leadership in the converged infrastructure market as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 : VCE HCI products leadership charts
In summary modern day data centers provide the following benefits:-