In IT circles when the discussion of “the cloud” comes up, whether for cloud compute or cloud storage, the first thought is a public cloud like Amazon, Google or Azure. But the reality is the cloud is not a location, it is a process that allows companies to provide IT services dynamically in a self-service fashion. The provider of those services can be one of the large public cloud providers, a regional managed service provider or the organization’s own internal IT staff.
What is the Cloud Method?
The cloud is more than just a data center that leverages virtualization. Virtualization is an important first step to becoming cloud-like. Cloud organizations leverage virtualization to create an IT infrastructure that responds to the needs of the users and application owners. The result is an IT on-demand experience that is self-service. IT leverages automation to orchestrate the behind the scenes moves, adds and changes to make it appear to the user as if the environment is created for them instantly.
Behind The Cloud
As a result the cloud is really more of a description of the customer experience. The user orders the IT services they need and it appears to instantly appear. They are unaware of the orchestration of various pieces of the configuration or provisioning of the IT infrastructure in the background.
Behind all of this orchestration is data. The data that application owners and users need access to. While some of this data is created as a result of the request much of the data already exists and needs to be provided to the request.
Data is Weighing Down The Cloud
The problem is that data is weighing down the cloud, making it less flexible and less efficient. In most data centers, part of the orchestration process is to identify the data that the requester will need and then copy that data to the services that have been provisioned. The process of copying the data takes time and obviously consumes additional capacity. Another challenge is that much of this data comes from legacy applications and then is provisioned to modern workloads.
A Virtual Content Repository
What IT needs is a universal repository that can connect legacy IT with modern IT. It should provide data protection to both legacy and modern IT creating the universal storage. This content repository should also provide copies of data to requesting users seamlessly with minimal actual copying of data. Finally it should connect directly into the orchestration layer so that it can be seamlessly accessed via the provisioning process.