SAN FRANCISCO—A trend that started up about six years ago continues to gain traction in the data center equipment space: composable infrastructure replacing static old-school servers, storage and networking.
Liqid, a new-gen provider of a full-service composable infrastructure solutions/services platform, revealed this week at VMworld 2019 that its package is now optimized to meet the specific demands of VMware vSAN and VDI installations. This is significant because a healthy percentage of VMware customers use vSAN software in their data storage systems, and many others use virtual desktop implementations—computer terminals wired directly to a central server or servers—in their daily production lineups.
Composable infrastructure is a trendy infrastructure architecture that was helped along by HPE's entry into the genre a few years ago. It is designed to ensure that the exact amount of computing resources—from processing power and storage to network fabric and virtualization—can be rapidly pulled together from a single resource pool to support an application, and then returned to the pool when they're no longer needed for the workload. It’s a just-in-time approach that enables optimization of resources at all times.
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With on-demand, bare-metal resource orchestration and automation, virtualized environments are freed from the physical limitations of the underlying hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) hardware on which they are deployed. Fresh servers can be created through software to effectively treat hardware as disaggregated resource pools, breaking with the one-to-one model that tethers virtualization licensing to physical CPUs. This has always been an inherent hindrance to application scaling and performance; the options this enables will be good news for admins under the gun for getting production workloads completed on time and according to industry regulations.
Disaggregated accelerator technologies such as GPU (graphics processing units), FPGA (field-programmable gate arrays) and Intel Optane memory can now be added on demand and utilized as shared resources in quantities that best correspond with a given virtualized compute task, Liqid said. Hypervisors such as VMware vSAN can orchestrate resource allocation via Liqid APIs, extending the life of existing hardware and allowing IT organizations to grow infrastructure as required, the company said.
“Because hyperconverged systems are sold based on static hardware bundled at the point of purchase, IT users are forced to add resources they do not need in order to grow vSAN and other virtualized implementations, leaving hardware underutilized in some instances, overtaxed in others,” said Cliff Grossner, Executive Director of Research and a technology fellow at IHS Markit. “With composable infrastructure for vSAN and other hyperconverged environments, hardware can be right-sized for the job, then released for use by other virtual machines when complete, delivering the ultimate in software-defined infrastructure at all levels of compute activity, down to the bare metal.”
Disaggregated Composability Completes the Mission of Virtualization
Hyperconverged data center architectures can no longer scale to keep pace with the uneven demands of virtualized compute environments. With limited ability to disaggregate data center resources, traditional hyperconverged systems can quickly become uneven, with some resources sitting idle while others are taxed to their limits.
“The problem with hyperconverged environments has always been just that: convergence. By decoupling hardware purchasing cycles with the requirements of hypervisors such as vSAN, virtual machines can be matched through software with bare metal servers that address the needs of specific applications, then released for use by others when not in use,” Liqid CEO and cofounder Sumit Puri said.
“Systems stay balanced, licensing costs can be reassessed, and IT users can prepare for emerging, high value applications, with disaggregation eliminating the need to purchase equipment until it is required.”