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VMblog's Expert Interviews: Comtrade Software Talks Business Requirements, Data Protection and Challenges with Virtual Environments

interview comtrade

I recently had the opportunity to have an educational discussion with Goran Garevski, VP Engineering at Comtrade Software as things relate to virtual environments.  This is an area where Comtrade Software has expertise, and they are a leading provider of monitoring and data protection solutions for hyperconverged infrastructures.  In fact, the company just recently unveiled HYCU, a purpose-built data protection solution for the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud Platform.

VMblog:  What has been the biggest disruption in IT over the past few years that has heavily impacted the way how virtualized workflows are managed?

Goran Garevski:  The biggest disruption in IT over the past few years is definitely the emergence of the cloud, public cloud in particular. The emergence of the cloud meant the infrastructure would be "hidden" from both IT and business users and would be enforced by simple and understandable Service Level Objectives (SLOs). This in turn meant managing and using IT became much more intuitive, agile and easy to understand.

VMblog:  Did business requirements for virtual environments change in the context of the disruptions above?

Garevski:  The use of the public cloud introduced a new way of approaching IT. It introduced scale-out capabilities, data protection as a service, consumption based pricing/cost and end user (tenant) portals. Compare that with traditional IT where the majority of business owners had been forced to cope with internally-focused challenges: maintenance hours, ad hoc purchasing, scalability challenges on the network and especially storage side, need for more servers, separate backup admins, separate network admins, and so on. It is natural that people started to express their expectations and requirements in "public cloud fashion" and were looking for IT to instantly understand, respond and implement that.

VMblog:  How have IT organizations and processes changed based on the disruptions above?

Garevski:  IT organizations needed to evolve to take advantage of these new changes. We're seeing this extensively within our own customer base. Virtualization admins are beginning to transform more toward private cloud admins. In the classic IT groups like the networking group, the backup group and the security group - people continue to operate in a legacy mode though. At the same time, these groups offloaded a portion of some existing responsibilities (backup/recovery/DR) to the platform/cloud group. Based on this, a new role that is gaining influence has emerged, the private cloud admin. Without that position, IT is completely inefficient. Having multiple groups managing the cloud leads to a situation where there are too many cooks in the kitchen! The result of that will always be failure.

VMblog:  What is the biggest challenge in today's modern virtual IT environment?

Garevski:  The biggest challenge in the modern IT environment is definitely catching up with the economics and functionality of the public cloud. Consumption pricing/chargeback, scale-out and infrastructure agility are just a few of the main challenges. And even if you acknowledge that some components of the IT stack have these capabilities, usually the nightmare happens when someone wants to synchronize and apply these methods across all IT areas (computing, storage, network, security).

VMblog:  How has data protection for virtual environments evolved and what are the biggest challenges users/customers face now?

Garevski:  The emergence of hyper-converged platforms has enabled an efficient way of having the public cloud behaviour across the core IT stack: computing, storage and network. With that said, the challenge happens when you introduce applications, and especially the accompanying management services that are necessary to protect these applications, like monitoring and data protection. The worst thing is to have these services as a separate silo, because the outcome of cloud/legacy integration is always legacy - economics and efficiency wise.

VMblog:  What should be the ideal data protection solution for the new virtual world?

Garevski:  In the modern cloud (ideally hybrid between the public and on-premises) data protection should be provided as a service (DPaaS). This is the only way to have efficient infrastructure without disruption. DPaaS should be able to breathe and live with the platform/cloud. Data protection services should grow and shrink together with the cloud and even more important to provide the same experience.

VMblog:  What are the skills required for managing the modern virtual environments? Have they changed in light of the disruptions and challenges and evolution of data protection?

Garevski:  Managing the modern virtual environments (here we refer to the hybrid cloud) requires strong knowledge of the complete IT stack. Only in that case IT personnel will be able to properly troubleshoot and optimize the environment. Especially when the stack below the cloud management tools is a combination of software defined storage, server virtualization and advanced network configuration. For example, it will be very tough to have just backup skills and not understand the platform/cloud.  We are entering the phase of the ultimate consolidation and virtualization of the complete IT stack - on premises and public cloud. Welcome to the "easy-to-use scale-out mainframe = the super cloud!".

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Published Monday, July 17, 2017 7:02 AM by David Marshall
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