Data Center Tech Blog

Cloud architects looking to transform their organizations should look at how top cloud providers support a range of workloads, use cases, and I/O patterns. Here are 5 challenges to building cloud services, and how to survive them.

Gary Lyng

Senior Director Marketing, Data Center Systems

No matter where we look in industry, the sector with the highest appetite for storage and the fastest growth rate is the cloud services marketplace.

More and more enterprise workloads are being migrated to cloud providers. With the growing versatility of Platform as a Service (PaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings, come new end user and IT expectations for business agility, self-service, performance and infinite scalability — and those bring on great challenges for cloud architects to keep up with demand.

5 Critical Challenges to Building Cloud Services

Building a cloud infrastructure to accommodate enterprise and mobile workloads can be daunting. It is an entirely different beast than the traditional, on-premises siloed storage approach enterprises have traditionally implemented.

And there’s no one recipe. Each enterprise customer will have different needs and goals what they’re looking to get out of the cloud. Yet there are critical architectural components you need to keep in mind to make your cloud project successful:

  1. Range of workloads: When designing robust cloud services, underlying storage to support such services needs to be versatile for the varying random I/O and data throughput requirements.
  2. The type of data and how we use it is changing. Analytics is giving way to Predictive Analytics. In our globalized economy, it is no longer acceptable to make decisions from historical data. Savvy Line of Business executives are now pushing for better and up-to-date predictive analytics. An entire rework of cloud infrastructure will be needed to carry out cloud-based analytics.
  3. DevOps culture and continuous development: If you’re a cloud service provider, your customers expect the infrastructure to provide a PaaS environment for further development. Providing a PaaS for DevOps will entail test/dev environments and highly-reliable production infrastructure.
  4. Customer Experiences: Customer satisfaction is only as good as the lowest network and storage latency within your infrastructure. Architecting cloud services with predictable and fastest response times means flash storage that has been tuned for specific latency-sensitive workloads. This is key to QoS (Quality of Service) or better stated ‘Consistent Quality of Service’
  5. Scale!: With the exponential growth of data, cloud architectures require a new approach that will enable them to scale storage without the undue costs of compute. Storage need not be tied to computing as it scales. Disaggregated storage is an approach to balance the demand for storage bandwidth without the unnecessary costs of CPU/RAM.

How Top IaaS Providers Power Their Cloud

So how do top cloud providers build infrastructure to support a range of workloads, use cases, and I/O patterns? The reality is that more workloads are moving to flash every day. In fact, SanDisk® enables the top 12 worldwide Internet properties and cloud providers – delivering tailored solutions for IaaS, PaaS and SaaS workloads to the most demanding customers. Here are three reasons why:

Performance
Unlike traditional spinning media, flash can be designed in ways so it can be heavily workload dependent, with performance variance over time based on block size, random versus sequential I/O, read versus write patterns, temporality, and data throughput requirements. Flash turned the industry around: no longer is the workload designed to fit the storage device limitations, instead flash can be designed to fit the given workload!

Persistent Storage Tiers
Persistent tiers, both flash and HDD, in cloud infrastructure must satisfy consistent throughput, latency, and performance isolation. Performance must be predictable at any given time, and persistent across the entire given tier. Unlike any other storage medium before, enterprise flash guarantees predictable performance and even a fully predictable lifetime tying back to providing QoS

Innovative Use Cases
Cloud services need to deliver an infrastructure ready for existing on-premises workloads, but the real value appears when we start to talk about innovative new use cases that would have been impossible without the cloud. Database-as-a-Service, analytics in the cloud (e.g., Hadoop-as-a-Service), DevOps environments, Media Rendering as a service, and newly developed applications supporting Internet of Things (IoT) – the possibilities are infinite.

With the ongoing adoption of cloud services, service provider customers are one of our largest growing business, and we’ve worked closely with them to understand their infrastructure needs and deliver solutions tailored for cloud workloads and environments.

For example, we’ve optimized our CloudSpeed family of SATA SSDs to manage transactional and mixed cloud services workloads, delivering low latency performance. Our InfiniFlash System family, is a next-generation scale-out storage platform using flash for high-capacity cloud environments where flash at scale was previously not economically viable.

Driving Organizations Towards Cloud-Enabled Digital Businesses

To better understand what the biggest challenges are for today’s cloud architects, we partnered with IDC to take a closer look at why, where and how cloud architects are choosing data center flash to power the largest clouds. The result is a truly insightful white paper that you can download here.

In addition, I will be joining Laura DuBois, IDC Research VP Enterprise Storage, Servers, and Infrastructure Software, for a webinar on trends in cloud computing and how architects are able to take action to drive their organizations towards cloud-enabled digital businesses.

Webinar: Cloud Architects Choose Datacenter Flash to Solve their Cloud Initiatives

May 17 at 10:00 am PT (1:00pm Eastern)
This webinar will cover:

  • Cloud adoption rates
  • Cloud-based analytics, e.g., Hadoop-as-a-Service and Data Lakes
  • How application I/O patterns affect decisions on flash technology
  • Next-generation applications and their impact on data center requirements
  • Solutions for scale-out architectures for OPEX efficiency

I will also share how our portfolio of data center solutions can enable better business outcomes and how other cloud service providers use SanDisk today for leading cloud services.

Save your seat and register here! I look forward to seeing you there.

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