Software-Defined Methodologies: Vendor Alternatives


What’s driving your cloud strategy? Is it cost, business implications, training and people, or does is it ultimately come down to technology? While our philosophy for digital transformation centers in large part on restructuring an IT department to take advantage of the “un-siloed” personnel nature of cloud computing, this week’s blog takes a look at the foundation for it all; the leading software-defined methodologies powering organizational cloud decisions.

If you’re a regular reader of this space, you’ll know that VertitechIT is a promoter of hybrid cloud, a “try before you really buy” approach that allows the organization to familiarize and become proficient before turning to a complete off-premise solution. Designing that private cloud on site should make it easier to facilitate a wholesale move to a traditional cloud provider as long as the right software is selected from the start. (You can read more about our approach to cloud migration in our recently released white paper, The Case for Cloud). In the meantime, here’s a look at a few of the leaders in software-defined methodologies.

VMware:  Most compute workloads today already run on VMware, but most environments are still using classic architectures with shared physical storage, physical networking, and minimal cloud management solutions. There is substantial opportunity to further optimize VMware through hyperconvergence of storage, networking, and security. VMware’s recent acquisition of VeloCloud provides a preview of its entirely software-defined future, where multiple datacenters both on- and off-premises can be tied together using the Internet and software.

VMware’s maturing and expanding offering leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) hardware has the potential to provide the easiest and most comprehensive hybrid solution in the market, allowing seamless extension of customer environments: networks, security models, management models, etc. may all be easily portable. There’s no doubt that its vision of portable workloads and associated security and operating policies is needed by customers to ease their consumption of cloud. The risk: it’s new, and we won’t really know the true realization of this vision until later in 2018.

Microsoft:  Azure has established itself as a worthy runtime for both Windows and Linux workloads and is believed by many to be easier to consume for traditional applications than AWS. It offers a variety of services beyond the infrastructure itself, including very reasonably priced Disaster Recovery as a Service option. Many customers are consuming it aggressively for both DR and production workloads, and recent reports claim that roughly 40% of the workloads are actually Linux, which has traditionally been consumed via AWS. There are some drawbacks: a) Azure networking and security is separate from on-premise, b). Capabilities exist to design and deploy networking and security models to meet any industry standard, but it will likely require adapting the model developed for on-premise.

The addition of Azure Stack to the offering completes the hybrid vision that VMware has long espoused but from the other direction, bringing the capabilities of Azure offpremises to the customers’ datacenter(s). Customers purchase their own compliant hardware and then pay for the consumption of operating systems by the hour as they would on Azure. Security and operating models are the same whether on-premises or offpremises, which simplifies everything.

Nutanix:  Nutanix is often credited for creating the concept of hyperconvergence: bringing compute and storage together in a single software-defined platform. Using VMware and their proprietary software-defined storage platform, they have long represented the on-premises “easy button.” Recently they have begun offering their own Acropolis hypervisor and migration tools as a way to further reduce on-premises costs by eliminating VMware. In pursuit of a hybrid offering to match VMware and Microsoft, Nutanix announced their Xi Cloud Services, aiming to offer disaster recovery and easy offpremises operations. Details are sparse, and they have yet to launch their early access program. There is also a question of Nutanix’ longevity in the market with uncertainty regarding how long they can continue to operate at a loss following their IPO. Without an infusion of funds or acquisition, it represents a risky platform to adopt contrasted with more dominant and well-funded competitors.

Picking a winner is like selecting your favorite dessert; certain flavors will better compliment the “food” that is served around it. New competitors are rapidly entering the space, making the collaboration of cross-functional teams of Architects, Engineers, and Operations personnel essential to effectively evaluate the compute, network, and storage alternatives involved in making a vendor selection for cloud implementation.

To access the full white paper entitled, The Case for Cloud, click here.

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