Composable Infrastructure Meets Commodity Hardware

Composable Infrastructure Meets Commodity Hardware


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!

About the Author:

Tom Lyon is a computing systems architect, a serial entrepreneur and a kernel hacker. Prior to founding DriveScale, Tom was founder and Chief Scientist of Nuova Systems, a start-up that led a new architectural approach to systems and networking. Nuova was acquired in 2008 by Cisco, whose highly successful UCS servers and Nexus switches are based on Nuova’s technology. He was also founder and CTO of two other technology companies. Netillion, Inc. was an early promoter of memory-over-network technology. At Ipsilon Networks, Tom invented IP Switching. Ipsilon was acquired by Nokia and provided the IP routing technology for many mobile network backbones. As employee #8 at Sun Microsystems, Tom was there from the beginning, where he contributed to the UNIX kernel, created the SunLink product family, and was one of the NFS and SPARC architects. He started his Silicon Valley career at Amdahl Corp., where he was a software architect responsible for creating Amdahl’s UNIX for mainframes technology. Tom holds numerous U.S. patents in system interconnects, memory systems, and storage. He received a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University.

Leave A Comment