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2020 Vision

After 2.5 years in stealth mode, I am excited to announce the launch of Springpath and our groundbreaking software, Springpath Data Platform. This important milestone couldn’t have been reached without the incredible hard work and creativity of the Springpath team and the enthusiastic support from our beta customers and partners.

At Springpath, we wanted to build a product on top of an architecture that would last for decades. In order to do this, it is extremely important to understand what the future of the data center is going to look like in 3-5 years. So, we asked ourselves, what will the IT stack in the data center look like in the year 2020? The figure below represents our view of the core data center stack in 2020. Let’s take a closer look at each layer of the stack.

Springpath_Blog_Independent Infrastructure

In the applications tier, we will see most applications written using modern frameworks such as Scala, Akka, node.js. These applications are going to be very elastic, distributed and not reliant on any special or proprietary services to be supported by the underlying layers. We envision this emergence of a new class of applications will cause the transition from virtual machines to lightweight compute platforms such as containers on a large scale. Containers will represent a great opportunity in terms of how the whole life cycle of applications will be managed. The networking layer is already witnessing a shift toward highly programmable and software-based networking services (eg. VxLAN) and many of the core networking services will be running alongside applications. And in the physical networking layer, 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet will be the norm.

It is in the storage layer that we see a massive transformation. Data needs of the applications will be served by storage infrastructure that is 100% software-based running on top of a cluster of standard commodity servers leveraging internal drives and server-attached storage devices. The data and storage services could be co-located on the same server clusters that host the applications or are hosted on a separate cluster or even run in a hybrid manner with some services like caching collocated with the applications. If you walk into a datacenter in 2020, you will see racks and racks of commodity servers and no exotic special purpose hardware for compute, networking or storage.

In short, we see a data center where applications are liberated from the complexities of the underlying infrastructure. The infrastructure in all the layers will be elastic, self-healing and completely autonomic.

Now, let us look at present day reality. The enterprise data center in 2015 looks quite complex and siloed relative to the data center of the future, as shown in the picture below.


In the application tier, we are seeing the emergence of distributed applications, but the majority of the enterprise applications remain monolithic and predominantly run in virtualized (VMware, Hyper-v, OpenStack/KVM) environments. Over time, we expect the balance to tilt towards containers, as the number of distributed applications grows. Today, the majority of these enterprise applications and virtualization software are relying on legacy storage hardware/systems created in the 90’s, most of which are expensive, inefficient and unable to meet the performance and agility demands of the applications. This has forced enterprises to create infrastructure silos dedicated to each application or platform type and address their challenges in a vertical manner. These silos and associated problems are especially acute in the storage layer, causing fragmentation of storage hardware (as a result performance and capacity) and the fragmentation of data management services.

Springpath software addresses these storage and data management challenges with a singular software platform running on a cluster of standard commodity servers, enabling enterprises to embark on a path to a truly independent infrastructure by 2020. You can learn more about the platform on our website and on this blog. We would like to hear from you via info@springpathinc.com.

Come join us on our journey toward an independent infrastructure.


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