We’re living in the golden age of application development. Developers can tap into more resources and enjoy greater flexibility than ever before. Multi-cloud environments offer them the freedom to pick and choose from a wide range of services based on the strengths and offerings of different cloud providers. They have unparalleled opportunities to achieve their development goals.
In this environment, developers must build applications to work across different hosted providers, each with their own unique administrators and requirements. The easiest way to deal with this is to forget about storage, at least in the traditional sense. Instead, developers and the organizations they work for should deploy an underlying data fabric that supports everything they’re trying to do, and every cloud provider they need to do it with.
What Is a Data Fabric?
Put simply, a data fabric is an underlying, cloud-agnostic infrastructure that can enable developers to more easily port data between different clouds. An ideal data fabric is highly scalable—supporting an organization’s big data needs—and reliable.
For a visual representation, think of a big Thanksgiving when you invite a bunch of different people over and you need to pull two dining tables of different shapes and sizes together. You spread a tablecloth over the two tables to make them become one. That’s kind of what a data fabric achieves; it brings two different things together to create a single platform.
Why Is this Important?
Storage-as-a-Service—we hardly knew about it. Thanks in large part to containers, which offer exceptional scalability, simplicity and high availability, the speed of application development has increased dramatically. Developers need to be able to quickly provision their own data, in just the right amounts, to match that velocity. And, like containers, that data needs to be portable.
Provisioning quickly means no more going through storage administrators to get the services they need, which can be a cumbersome and time-consuming process. Solutions like Kubernetes’ on-demand clusters enable developers to procure the data they need when they need it.
The abstraction layer provided by a data fabric can empower developers even further. They can write their own APIs, provision data services as needed and move that data between clouds with ease.
This is particularly important when dealing with cloud providers that offer different services. Sometimes a developer may need a service that exists in one cloud but not another. It’s critical to have an underlying storage infrastructure that enables applications and their data to be transferred as needs require.
What Does this Mean for the Role of Developers?
Today, developers must be IT versatilists and wear many hats. They have to manage storage, understand their businesses’ goals—and, of course, they have to develop. That’s a lot to juggle, so it’s understandable why developers would want something that helps simplify things.
Indeed, having a standardized data fabric can make all of this a bit easier. Developers don’t have to bother their storage administrators with requests; they can quite easily provision storage themselves.
Everyone wins in this scenario. Developers save time, become more empowered and have the freedom to create applications and datasets and more easily apply them to different clouds. Storage administrators can focus less on provisioning and more on other value-added projects. Organizations as a whole can also benefit, since developers will be able to create applications more quickly, allowing companies to bring services to market at a faster pace.
Speaking of the Bottom Line — What Is It?
Deploying a standard infrastructure for data services is critical not just to developers but to enterprises themselves. It supports organizations’ initiatives for scalability, flexibility and agility—all of the reasons that companies are doing containerized application development in the first place. For developers working in multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environments, it makes perfect sense.