As you may know, I’m pretty interested in the newest round of clustered computing these days. I’m digging in pretty deep to see how well-suited it is to the enterprise, and how it is best used/architected/implemented.
There is a reason for that, and I think this graphic probably gives it away:
You’ll note that “container provisioning” is in there. It doesn’t need to be. If your environment is running without containers at this time, then simply remove that block from both sides of the diagram and remove container from the titles.
The fact is that there is one less step in any provisioning environment short of one app, one server.
And remember that this abstraction doesn’t touch on storage provisioning, AAA or OS upgrades at two different levels (or in some scenarios three).
And that’s a big deal. Not just because you have one less layer for deployment, you also have one less layer for maintenance, one less layer for security, one less layer for logging … It’s a big deal. As I’ve mentioned before, we have increased the complexity of the operations environment to the point that some form of DevOps is nearly required to keep a modern or cutting-edge data center running smoothly. The newest round of clustering solutions removes one layer from the architecture stack, reducing that complexity a little bit. Of course, it is just a slowing in the growth of complexity, but it’s better than a “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” approach to complexity.
The thing is that clustering software has been around for a very long time—I was briefed back when VMware was just making a name for itself about a clustering solution that was aimed at gaming sites. I never wrote about it because VMware stole the thunder, and the company couldn’t reference any customers except gambling websites—not exactly an easy comparison to make with enterprise environments. This briefing was my first, but clustering existed long before that, even.
But this round is different than most recent clustering solutions. It focuses on resources and scheduling, not on making a special-purpose large-sized computer. This round of clustering software makes a large computer that looks to apps like Linux. That’s a far more useful abstraction, if it works without a ton of overhead.
And the overhead is what I’ll be digging into over the next few weeks.
But yes, I think it’s a great idea. Give me a big old expandable Linux box, make it look exactly like Linux to my apps and let’s see what it means for app growth.