Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) today moved to bring storage further into the realm of DevOps by integrating its 3PAR storage systems with VMware vRealize Orchestration software, open source Kubernetes container orchestration software and the Red Hat OpenShift platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment built on top of Kubernetes. HPE 3PAR storage systems already support Docker containers and the DC/OS private cloud platform from Mesosphere.
In addition, HPE is making available pre-built blueprints for Chef, Puppet and Ansible automation frameworks, as well as software development kits written in Ruby and Python that can be used to create custom integrations.
Finally, HPE announced that HPE InfoSight, a cloud-based service that employs machine learning algorithms to predict when a drive might be about to fail or when application performance might be adversely impacted by I/O contention. HPE gained the core technology for that service when it acquired Nimble Storage last year.
Vish Mulchand, senior director of product management and marketing for HPE Storage, said machine learning algorithms and other forms of artificial intelligence (AI) will soon be playing a much larger DevOps role. Research indicates that more than half of all support issues involve storage systems, and AI technologies will be able to identify most of those issues long before they impact applications, he says.
Mulchand notes HPE has been adding integrations with various DevOps and container technologies to make it easier to scale applications as needed. The goal, he says, is to make storage management a more natural extension of any set of DevOps processes.
In general, providers of storage systems have been investing heavily in automation frameworks designed to make it easier for storage administrators to manage ever increasing amounts of data. The next challenge facing IT organizations is to be able to provision storage resources in a way that doesn’t hamper the rate at which those applications might be deployed.
It’s not clear to what degree storage administrators will be subsumed into DevOps teams. In most cases, storage administrators are looking to make available a pre-determined set of storage resources available to developers on a self-service basis. The amount of those resources is determined by the characteristics of the application, which storage administrators can gain earlier access into by participating in the DevOps process.
Going forward, Mulchand says HPE expects competition between storage vendors increasingly will be defined by the quality of experience they provide IT organizations rather than the performance of the storage systems. Every storage vendor has embraced Flash storage systems that can address the performance requirements of just about any type of application workload, he says, so making it easier to access those storage resources and make sure they are constantly available is the next major opportunity.
As more automation gets introduced into IT environments, there’s no doubt the role of the average storage administrator will change. Rather than manually provisioning resources, storage administrators will be able to develop policies for classes of applications that are automatically implemented whenever storage systems need to be provisioned. As storage administrators learn the characteristics of those application in a production environment, those policies will be further fine-tuned. The good news is that storage itself no longer needs to be seen as a bottleneck from either a performance or DevOps perspective.