Driving Innovation: The Power of Keeping It Simple | So Good News


In a world where technology and innovation are constantly engaged in a dance of complex evolution, the art of simplicity never gets old. Ian Ness, CEO of VergeIO, explains the power of keeping it simple as we continue our collective path of technological maturity.

Tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon all excel at one thing: simplicity.

Apple made the smartphone so simple that my 22-year-old nephew and 93-year-old father love and use it. It’s incredibly intuitive and easy to use, and none of them have ever read a manual or taken a class.

Microsoft (and Apple too) made the personal computer much simpler to use than MS-DOS. The mouse and graphical interface have dramatically changed the way computers are used and increased adoption. My mother, who did not use a computer at that time, played solitaire for several hours a week. He never asked for a basic computer and they never asked him what he wanted. They made it easier to use and it took off.

Amazon has made it easy to find, buy, pay, and then receive anything. This ‘one-click’ simplification allowed them to capture a large portion of retail sales from legacy retailers. Today, Amazon trucks, planes, and cars are everywhere. Amazon Prime made it even easier and created a huge new market.

Simplicity sells. Because of the complexity, users accept a higher risk, cost and irritation in the learning curve.

Apple has taught us that simplicity is better, but it’s also a lot more work behind the scenes.

Unlocking complexity for business

I have been in the IT industry since the 1980s. Speeds and channels have improved significantly since then, but ultimately it’s still just hardware and software organized in industry silos. Servers, networking, security, management, operating systems, backup and more. there are big companies for Some focus on specific areas or use cases, hoping to make it easier to accept and understand in everyday life. But all of them still require highly qualified staff with multiple certifications and years of experience.

This caused personnel problems. With growing cyber threats, regulatory challenges and CapEx requirements, enterprises are looking to providers. Outsourcing and managed service providers have filled the gap. This venture was created in an attempt to shift risk, CapEx and complexity to focus on more strategic things than server uptime.

An MSP or provider has hidden all the complexity of silos, staff and software in exchange for a simple monthly fee. MSPs use customer-to-customer automation and operations management to deliver unique value. Some have internal software development teams (we did) to portals, automate and orchestrate the 10+ vendors required for disaster recovery or continuous service delivery, such as private clouds.

The effect of conformity on simplicity

The rapid proliferation of compliance regulations such as HIPAA, PCI, FISMA, Fedramp, and GDPR have added complexity and burden to enterprise IT. Thus, additional vendors and additional tools are brought in to simplify, but actually increase complexity.

The cloud has emerged to further simplify IT infrastructure. Got a credit card and about 30 minutes? Go ahead and spin up a lot of infrastructure on demand. Now you can have “microservices”, meaning hundreds of different services you can use to write your application at infinite scale if you can.

But if you look at your AWS or Azure account, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not that simple. It still requires a lot of experts (AWS experts are rare and expensive) and may have bills complex and full of surprises. It’s not simple.

Then we software-defined everything from server virtualization or software-defined computing. We then virtualized storage with software-defined storage and networking with software-defined networking. This allowed us to “consolidate” and “hyper-converge” three software-defined tools into one visible piece of infrastructure. It has not replaced all three with one software. Rather, it combined them, adding a layer of coordination and control. Under the hood, it’s still separate parts. In fact, some users of hyperconverged products (like Nutanix) still run hypervisors (VMware) on them because they’re used to it.

But we wanted to be able to move workloads without looking at their underlying infrastructure. We want portability, extensibility and agility. The desire for more portability led to containers. This added another layer of complexity because these workloads have dependencies that need to be managed. We now have many tools for managing containers.

See more: How to automate repetitive IT tasks and drive more business value

Simple management of future workloads

Future workloads will run outside the data center and beyond highly centralized IT staff and orchestration. Future workloads will be “in the field” and run to the edge. It cries out for simplicity: for this we need a simple, autonomous way to deliver infrastructure in the form of virtual data centers.

Virtualizing the entire data center is the next step in the evolution of simplicity. This means we need to do to the data center what VMware did to the primary server.

Now that compute, storage, and networking are buckets of bits, there should be one simple bit bucket that can represent everything from the storage layers; hypervisors; network including public IP, DNS; management; orchestration; automation and self-healing tools. Most importantly, it should be fast and create completely independent virtual data centers with no dependencies, so they can be moved from one place to another, like a VM or container, at will.

From this bucket of bits, we can dynamically create infrastructure from commodity x86 hardware and coordinate activity between the three software-defined resources (compute, storage, and network). We can simplify and automate some tasks, so installation and use takes less than 20 minutes, so it’s convenient and intuitive.

An encapsulated data center starts with a storage architecture. It has different storage levels. The hypervisor will then work directly with that memory. Software-defined networking handles all Layer 2 and Layer 3 networking, including DNS, load balancing, and access control.

Embedded DR and backup will be part of an encapsulated data center, both on-site and off-site.

Compliance and security settings will be fully encapsulated, along with automation, orchestration, logging and monitoring.

We need to be able to take this single, encapsulated virtual data center and move it around without separate connections like a Kubernetes container. It should be able to be cloned, started, modified and deleted. You should be able to take a picture of it as easily as a virtual machine. It is a fully encapsulated virtual data center.

With this level of isolation, we can “nest” virtual data centers to meet compliance requirements. A service provider can sell infrastructure through channel partners, each with virtual data center space.

See more: Top tips for improving IT efficiency and cutting energy bills

A simplified future

A fully virtualized data center is not complexity disguised as simplicity. It requires little experience, is easily deployed, drastically reduces risk and lowers costs. But the real value of simplification, not just for virtual data centers, but for all advanced technologies, is the potential for geometric changes in adoption. In addition to tactical savings, agility, and risk reduction, simplification enables new uses not often considered before. We can take pictures with phones, have meetings with computers, and see Ms. Maisel on Amazon.

The virtual data center similarly changes the simplicity/efficiency paradigm. We envision low-cost, low-risk “microclouds” at the commodity level: the cloud in every home, every desktop, laptop, pocket, and one day wrist.

Simplification and commoditization are also changing the skills gap. In the old movie houses, the projectionist was a highly valued, highly paid job. Now it’s just hand-eye work like swapping cartridges and pressing play. Running servers, storage and networking can be very simple. What exciting things does this new simplicity allow us to do with a fully virtualized data center?

While the power of simplicity is obvious, there are times when simplicity is not a priority. Microsoft Windows simplified personal computing and made it a commodity for the masses, but it was, and still isn’t, right for every application. Real-time operations in combat aircraft, robotics, and other use cases have demands that compromise simplicity. Even in such cases, simple is better, but not the most important feature.

How do you keep it simple while still innovating? Share with us Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.


Image source: Shutterstock


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