Multi-Cloud Needs Composable Infrastructure

Most organizations now live in a multi-cloud world. Workloads can run on-premises one day and then in the cloud the next, only to return back to on-premises soon after. A challenge for organizations looking for this type of workload mobility is the differences between the infrastructures. As explained in prior blogs, current on-premises solutions, despite attempts to make them more cloud-like, haven’t worked. Most vendors forget that the public cloud is more than just a business model it is an actual way of doing business. On-premise solutions should mirror the flexibility – both in technology and economic – of the public cloud and best approach to achieve this is by leveraging composable infrastructure.

What is Composable Infrastructure?

Most on-premises storage systems, even scale-out systems, are hard wired. They have a given amount of storage, compute, IO and capacity resources that are shared across all the workloads attached to them. This sharing of all resources leads to storage silos which leads to data center inefficiency and budget overages.

Composable infrastructure enables organizations to specifically define what components of a storage system will be assigned to a specific workload or group of workloads. For example, a performance sensitive, Oracle environment may need extra controller power in order to keep pace with a high transaction application as well as a high number of flash drives. A VMware environment on the other hand may only need two controllers, and thanks to deduplication a very finite number of drives. Lastly, an analytics process may need more bandwidth than random IO performance, so it may also only need two controllers but require additional network connections.

The needs of each of these workloads may also change from day-to-day or week-to-week. In order to achieve high levels of efficiency IT may want to reallocate resources dynamically between theses workloads as the need arises, instead of having expensive resources sitting idle.

All of the movement of these resources is controlled through the storage software. IT administration can rapidly define a new virtual storage system out of the discrete physical components.

The challenge for IT is that of the few solutions that provide composable infrastructure, most are delivered as a turnkey hardware/software solution which means the customer pays a premium for the hardware and the software licenses are locked to the specific hardware. If the customer adds an additional storage node they must also purchase the storage software again instead of transferring the license from the old node.

Composability 2.0 – Software Only

The next generation of composable storage is solutions where the hardware and software is disaggregated. While they may still come bundled with certified hardware solutions, software and hardware are independent of one-another. Software independence enables the transferring of licenses which enables organizations to quickly move to new hardware platforms when new technology justifies it.

Software independence also enables a true consumption or subscription model. While the customer needs to purchase the hardware upfront the software only needs to be activated as the organization uses that portion of the hardware. Most consumption models built on legacy storage solutions or even composable storage 1.0 solutions require a minimum purchase by the customer and upgrades that are in large chunks instead of small bites.


The second generation of composable infrastructure is more compatible with the cloud. Although composable storage 2.0 is actually more flexible than even the cloud it does share similar properties in terms of seamless scale, upgrades and business models. Organizations looking to maintain mission critical applications on-premises while also having the option to move to and from various cloud providers will find composable storage 2.0 and ideal foundation from which to build that strategy.

IT professionals are hearing a lot about composable infrastructures and many vendors are claiming to offer a solution, but only a few have truly composable solutions ready for deployment today. To learn more about composable infrastructure join Storage Switzerland and Kaminario on demand for our 15-minute webinar. During this webinar listen in as our panel of experts discuss what composable infrastructures are, how they have evolved and most importantly what to look for in a composable solution

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George Crump is the Chief Marketing Officer at VergeIO, the leader in Ultraconverged Infrastructure. Prior to VergeIO he was Chief Product Strategist at StorONE. Before assuming roles with innovative technology vendors, George spent almost 14 years as the founder and lead analyst at Storage Switzerland. In his spare time, he continues to write blogs on Storage Switzerland to educate IT professionals on all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought-after public speaker. With over 30 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS, SAN, Virtualization, Cloud, and Enterprise Flash. Before founding Storage Switzerland, he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators, where he was in charge of technology testing, integration, and product selection.

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