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January 04, 2010


Chuck Hollis

Chris -- you asked "How does a storage federation differ from a storage cluster?" on Twitter, which is a good question.

My answer would be "a cluster is but a single -- somewhat restricted -- example of a broader set of potential federation models".

For example, if we look at the typical VMware cluster, all the components live in the same place, run by the same person, and all 100% dedicated to the same set of tasks.

Under a broader federation model, not all the components would need to live in the same place, they would not all have to be administered by the same entity, and they wouldn't have to be 100% dedicated to the same set of tasks.

Let's jump from IT to airlines as an example.

In the US, Southwest runs a fleet of identical 737s. I'd call that very similar to a "cluster". However, when I book a ticket with United to Europe, I might be code sharing with multiple airlines, and using all sorts of different aircraft.

Back to IT again.

Imagine I'm running a fleet of 1,000 virtual machines. Some of them live here, some of them live there. Some of them are administered by my own staff, others by my service provider. And not every physical server and/or storage array in my 1,000 VM complex might be 100% dedicated to my needs, or identical in terms of make and model.

Hope that helped more than hurted :-)

-- Chuck


I don't follow many blogs, but yours is of the. Please continue the great work. Regards!!!Keep up the nice blogging.blogs

Sameer Deokule

In your opinion, where are we with respect to interoperability requirements implied by federation?

(assuming multiple vendors/storage pools in picture similar to the multi-airline example you cite)

Chuck Hollis

Hi Sameer

Today? Multi-vendor interoperability at any level is very impractical, except, perhaps, network protocols! Somewhere in the stack there needs to be a homogenous layer that orchestrates its peers.

If we take this to storage, this presumes a software layer that orchestrates multiple flavors of storage around a shared set of outcomes: performance, cost, separation, etc.

Not that I would preview anything EMC is working on ...

-- Chuck

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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