HPE made a big announcement this week on the data storage front, introducing Unified DataOps. At a high level, I am a big supporter of innovation along the lines of what HPE is doing—namely, providing technologies that fuel the transition from buying systems to realizing positive business outcomes. That’s because more and more, I see business leaders trying to achieve two seemingly conflicting goals:
- Maximize the value of data to the fullest extent to empower the business by creating a competitive advantage in managing data.
- Get out of the business of managing IT systems.
Businesses understand that they must prioritize improving their data management, but they do not want to manage the infrastructure and systems that store and leverage that data. For years, the best and most capable means of achieving that goal was to leverage the cloud. Cloud is great, but it is not everything. Innovators such as HPE are taking lessons from cloud users and incorporating those insights into the solutions they provide.
It’s worth unpacking this announcement. HPE is unveiling a couple of new storage systems under a new storage brand, Alletra. One of them is a high-end, mission-critical version that delivers a 100% availability guarantee. But in this announcement, the focus should be more on the software and management side.
As part of Unified DataOps, HPE is introducing:
- The Data Services Cloud Console—Designed to deliver cloud operational agility and unified data operations as a service. (I have seen a demo, it's impressive.)
- Cloud Data Services—An approach to deliver data management capabilities as a suite of software subscription services that can simplify and automate global infrastructure management at scale.
From what I have seen, this stuff is easy. Organizations can manage their HPE infrastructure from anywhere in the world. One comment I hear repeatedly is that IT needs consistency in management and provisioning everywhere. HPE is working toward that objective.
And part of that vision is tied to HPE’s intent-based provisioning. Admins express the workload characteristics and HPE’s integrated intelligence does all the work to provision and place the application appropriately.
I want to talk, or possibly more accurately rant, for a bit about common IT workload placement practices. Based on conversations I have had, far too many people just place apps according to where capacity might be available, without factoring performance load balancing into the equation at all.
I get it. In modern environments, it’s too much work to figure out the specific needs of each application, especially given that those needs will change over time. For years, though, this practice had created bottlenecks and inefficiencies, which have led to wasted time and resources.
HPE’s intent-based provisioning automates all of that. No extra effort is required and the storage infrastructure is optimized.
Now, some of you reading this may be thinking, “Wait, that is my job. I have a complex spreadsheet that I use to manage and track application demands. I use that to make sure my environment is tuned properly.”
To you folks, I want to ask one question. Why? What makes you think that is a good use of your time? If you are smart enough to create and use that spreadsheet so effectively, then your business is not fully utilizing your talents. That is like Tony Stark spending his days doing oil changes. (Yes, I just combined an Avengers and a Star Wars reference in the same blog. I was surprised, too.)
I do not mean to be harsh, but in all seriousness, your skill set is more valuable elsewhere to your business. Let the infrastructure optimize the workloads.
This attitude about wanting to keep IT manual was quite common in conversations I used to have as an analyst. Over the past couple of years, however, I’ve run into this mindset less and less often. If you are reading this blog post, you likely already know the reason. It’s because nobody has time for that level of manual activity anymore. If you are still doing it, it is likely because for years you had no other choice. Now vendors such as HPE with its Unified Data Ops strategy are taking that responsibility off your shoulders.
I have been writing a bit recently about the future of IT infrastructure. HPE’s announcement is another step on the journey of shifting away from systems toward delivering outcomes. This is a fascinating area of innovation that I am excited to watch moving forward.
Let me know what you think. Are you adamant that the best use of your time is manually placing applications on storage hardware? Want to argue that over email? Send me a note and let’s discuss.