I was at the 9th Openstack Malaysia anniversary this morning, celebrating the inception of the OpenInfra brand. The OpenInfra branding, announced almost a year ago, represented a change of the maturing phase of the OpenStack project but many have been questioning its growing irrelevance. The foundational infrastructure components – Compute (Nova), Image (Glance), Object Storage (Swift) – are being shelved further into the back closet as the landscape evolved in recent years.
The writing is on the wall
Through the storage lens, I already griped about the conundrum of OpenStack storage in Malaysia in last year’s 8th anniversary. And at the thick of this conundrum is OpenStack Swift. The granddaddy of OpenStack storage has not gotten much attention from technology vendors and service providers alike. For one, storage vendors have their own object storage offering, and has little incentive to place OpenStack Swift into their technology development. Continue reading →
The Marie KondoKonmari fever is sweeping the world. Her decluttering and organizing the home methods are leading to a new way of life – Minimalism.
Complicated Storage Experience
Storage technology and its architecture are complex. We layer upon layer of abstraction and virtualization into storage design until at some stage, choke points lead to performance degradation, and management becomes difficult.
I recalled a particular training I attended back in 2006. I just joined Hitachi Data Systems for the Shell GUSto project. I was in Baltimore for the Hitachi NAS course. This was not their HNAS (their BlueArc acquisition) but their home grown NAS based on Linux. In the training, we were setting up NFS service. There were 36 steps required to setup and provision NFS and if there was a misstep, you start from the first command again. Coming from NetApp at the time, it was horrendous. NetApp ONTAP NFS setup and provisioning probably took 3 commands, and this Hitachi NAS setup and configuration was so much more complex. In the end, the experience was just unworldly for me.
For the past couple of months, I have been speaking with a few parties in Malaysia about object storage technology. And I was fairly surprised with the responses.
The 2 reports
For a start, I did not set out to talk about object storage. It kind of fell onto my lap. 2 recent Hitachi Vantara reports revealed that countries like Australia, Hong Kong and even South East Asian countries were behind in their understanding of what object storage was, and the benefits it brought to the new generation of web scale and enterprise applications.
In the first report, an IDC survey sponsored by Hitachi Vantara, mentioned that 41% of the enterprises in Australia are not aware of object storage technology. In a similar survey, this one pointing towards Hong Kong and China, the percentages were 38% and 35% respectively. I would presume that the percentages for countries in South East Asia would not fall too far from the apple tree.
How is Malaysia doing?
However, I worry that the percentage number could be far more dire in Malaysia. In the past 2 months, responses from several conversations painted a darker hue about object storage technology with the companies in Malaysia. These included a reasonable sized hosting company, a well-established systems integrator, a software development company, several storage practitioners in Openstack and a DellEMC’s regional consultant for unstructured data. The collective conclusion was object storage technology was relatively unknown (probably similar to the percentages to the IDC/Hitachi Vantara reports), but it appeared to be shunned at this juncture. In web scale applications, Redhat Ceph block and files appeared popular in contrast to Openstack Swift. In enterprise applications, it was a toss of iSCSI and NFS.
Image from https://zdnet4.cbsistatic.com/hub/i/r/2018/04/24/c79e9dfb-b4a9-46bb-b831-f2c57fdf8a1d/resize/470xauto/5e4846d1bc7a034c382baf6dcbb612ed/cloud-storage.jpg
I woke up yesterday morning with a shocker of a news. IBM announced that they were buying Redhat for USD34 billion. Never in my mind that Redhat would sell but I guess that USD190.00 per share was too tempting. Redhat (RHT) was trading at USD116.68 on the previous Friday’s close.
Redhat is one of my favourite technology companies. I love their Linux development and progress, and I use a lot of Fedora and CentOS in my hobbies. I started with Redhat back in 2000, when I became obsessed to get my RHCE (Redhat Certified Engineer). I recalled on almost every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) back in 2002 when I was in the office, learning Redhat, and hacking scripts to be really good at it. I got certified with RHCE 4 with a 96% passing mark, and I was very proud of my certification.
One of my regrets was not joining Redhat in 2006. I was offered the job as an SE by Josep Garcia, and the very first position in Malaysia. Instead, I took up the Hitachi Data Systems job to helm the project implementation and delivery for the Shell GUSto project. It might have turned out differently if I did.
The IBM acquisition of Redhat left a poignant feeling in me. In many ways, Redhat has been the shining star of Linux. They are the only significant one left leading the charge of open source. They are the largest contributors to the Openstack projects and continue to support the project strongly whilst early protagonists like HPE, Cisco and Intel have reduced their support. They are of course, the perennial top 3 contributors to the Linux kernel since the very early days. And Redhat continues to contribute to projects such as containers and Kubernetes and made that commitment deeper with their recent acquisition of CoreOS a few months back.