Several years ago EMC hired a new Chief Technology Officer: John Roese. John brought with him decades of networking experience, including CTO roles at companies such as Cabletron and Nortel. Within a few months he participated in Mobile World Congress 2013 and heard the Telco/Service Provider industry communicate their need for dramatic and radical change. In 2014 he attended the same conference and saw an acceleration of transformation activity (see his Reflections post from last year). As he participates in his 3rd consecutive MWC in Barcelona next week, I thought I'd take a moment to discuss how John (and other networking experts he has brought into the company) have influenced several key areas of the industry's ever-stretching IT stack.
In previous posts I've used the diagram on the left to highlight that the increasing application distance from data has placed an enormous strain on IT architectures.
The diagram is meant to convey that an application I/O can originate from a mobile device, flow over a carrier or cloud network, enter into a virtualization layer that exists on an application server, move through a multi-pathing or routing environment, hop over network switches that are part of a SAN, and then arrive at a storage system which has its own layers of software and hardware pathing that lead to the persistent media.
I've framed the dialogue as follows:
- We have evolved from Application Nearness.
- We can chart application distance on an application axis.
- This axis is not only stretching out but is simultaneously shrinking back again.
In this post I'd like to drill into the "Carrier/Cloud" portion of the stack. If you were to double-click on it you would land squarely in the middle of Mobile World Congress 2015. The infrastructure supporting this layer has lagged behind the enterprise. As a result the cost of maintaining and supporting Telco and Service Provider infrastructure has outpaced revenue growth. In response the Telco/SP ecosystem is transforming to agile, virtualized, cloud-based IT stacks (just like the Enterprise did).
However, the Telco/SP ecosystem has a unique set of problems that most enterprise ecosystems did not have to solve. Over the last few years the CTO Office at EMC has been collecting and enumerating these use cases and driving change into our product lines in order to make them "SP-ready".
I'd like to highlight the different ways that EMC products have changed (or are changing) in order to fuel SP transformation in a similar fashion to how the Journey to the Private Cloud transformation altered the enterprise several years ago.
- Syncplicity APIs are becoming more SP-friendly in order to support requests for multi-tenant provisioning, billing enablement, and custom application development.
- Isilon is being virtualized in order to run on a variety of different scale-out HW platforms. This functionality is in direct response to the scale-out infrastructure needs of SPs. The SP market has also driven Isilon to add support for multi-tenant DNS capability.
- Both Isilon and VNX have been driven to add multiple, routable IP addresses per port, whether it be iSCSI or NFS.
- VNX has also been asked to improve QoS in the areas of IO and throughput rate limiting that are critical for multi-tenant environments.
- VMAX is adding CostOfService/LineOfService capabilities and is also being driven to add iSCSI MT support.
- XtremIO has also been working on iSCSI multi-tenancy support and IO/bandwidth rate limiting.
In my opinion John Roese's arrival into EMC in 2012 occurred at just the right time; his influence and understanding of this market had an immediate impact across EMC's product lines and has facilitated SP-ready software and systems. For an introduction to his thoughts on re-engineering the service provider ecosystem, see John's discussion below:
Thanks to my EMC colleague Edgar StPierre for educating me on this topic. Additionally, I recommend checking out David Frattura's discussion on this topic at MWC 2015 on Tuesday at 4PM:
EMC Reinventing the Cloud Service Provider Through Cloud Transformation by David Frattura