Gordon Grosse of MCSA has recently written an excellent article on Composable Infrastructure (CI). He lays out the evolution of data center technology from traditional to converged to hyper-converged to composable. At DriveScale we very much agree with his reasoning.
However, probably in an effort to remain vendor neutral, Gordon doesn’t touch on the actual hardware requirements of these technologies. In the traditional, pre-convergence, data center managers greatly benefit from the fact that they have a choice of roughly the same servers, storage, and networking from multiple vendors and physically assemble them to meet their requirements. However, this requires a certain level of skill to deploy and integrate the various products. Converged and hyper-converged system vendors take away some of that freedom of choice in return for delivering a final product that is better integrated and easier to deploy — but may not be exactly what you need.
I like to make an analogy of hyper-converged infrastructure being like fast food whereas traditional infrastructure is like choosing and cooking your own food. So how does Composable Infrastructure fit in? CI is like having your own chef who has amazing skills, knows how to buy just the right amount of food, and can even make leftovers taste good! Fast food can’t compete with that, and probably isn’t good for you either.
Unfortunately, some Composable Infrastructure vendors tie their products to particular hardware, so that amazing chef can’t really get affordable ingredients. At DriveScale we think CI needs commodity hardware to be successful. That’s why we don’t dictate server, storage, or switch vendors — just point us at your hardware, sit back, and Bon Appetit!