Application Innovation

 Application InnovationIn my last post I described how a new form of application workload began gaining steam last decade: infrastructure-based applications.

The complexity of these applications caused a tremendous surge of innovation in data center environments. This surge continues to this day and is often referred to as a “Software-Defined Data Center” (SDDC).

The diagram below classifies applications (and their workloads) into three different categories.
ThreeForms

This diagram is meant to convey the following:

  • There are three categories of “data” that applications send to the IT infrastructure: content, metadata about that content, and infrastructure metadata related to the operation of the business.
  • There are three types of applications generating different categories of data: traditional applications that are focusing on content and metadata (e.g. an ERP application), applications that are focused only on infrastructure metadata (e.g. an interface to configure a storage system), and hybrid applications that are concerned with both the infrastructure and the content (e.g. a backup application).
  • The IT infrastructure must be flexible enough to handle all three types of content in a coherent way.

What does “flexible” mean?  If we zoom in one one of the applications, we see that the applications have a wide variety of choice in their method of data storage and retrieval:
WorkloadVariety
Traditional applications can write content and metadata to the IT infrastructure using an ever-evolving array of protocols: block, file, object, database, key-value pairs, etc.

The other two applications (hybrid and infrastructure-based) have similar choices.

This was (and is) the state of the industry. Designing an IT infrastructure to handle this phenomena was tricky indeed. New applications began to surface in the area of backup/recovery, security, content management, and infrastructure management.

In future posts I will dive down into each of these areas to highlight how these solutions evolved.

image credit: emc.com

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Steve ToddSteve Todd is an EMC Fellow, the Director of EMC’s Innovation Network, and a high-tech inventor and book author Innovate With Global Influence. An EMC Intrapreneur with over 200 patent applications and billions in product revenue, he writes about innovation on his personal blog, the Information Playground. Twitter: @SteveTodd

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