I was recently pulled into a Twitter conversation that spawned off a blog post Paul Galjan made concerning Microsoft Azure Stack IaaS and its use cases in which he correctly pointed out that Azure Stack is not just a VM dispenser. The question was posed as to what exactly constitutes IaaS vs. virtualization (VM dispenser) and where does each fit into the hierarchy of “cloud”?Let’s start out by clearly defining our terms:Virtualization in its simplest form is leveraging software to abstract the physical hardware from the guest operating system(s) that run on top of it. Whether we are using VMWare, XenServer, Hyper-V, or another hypervisor, from a conceptual standpoint they serve the same function.In Enterprise use cases, virtualization in and of itself is only part of the solution. Typically, there are significant management and orchestration tools built around virtualized environments. Great examples of these are VMware’s vRealize Suite and Microsoft’s System Center, which allow IT organizations to manage and automate their virtualization environments. But does a hypervisor combined with a robust set of tools an IaaS offering make?IaaS. Let’s now take a look at what comprises Infrastructure as a Service. IaaS is one of the service models for cloud computing, and it is just that – a service model. NIST lays it out as follows:The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).You may be looking at that definition and asking yourself, “So, based on that, virtualization with a robust set of management tools is capable of delivering just that, right?” Well, sort of, but not really. We must take into account that the service model definition must also jive with the broadly accepted “Essential Characteristics” of Cloud computing.On-demand self-serviceBroad network accessResource poolingRapid elasticityMeasured serviceEssentially all of these core tenets of “cloud” are capabilities that must be built out on top of existing virtualization and management techniques. IaaS (as well as PaaS for that matter) caters to DevOps workflows enabling Agile code development, testing and packaging, along with release and configuration management, without regard for the underlying infrastructure components. This is clearly not the same as virtualization or even “advanced virtualization” (a term I hear thrown around every so often).So then how does that relate back to the conversation concerning Azure Stack IaaS and VM dispensers? For that we need to look at how it plays out in the data center.Building a virtualization environment has really become table stakes as a core IT function in the Enterprise space. There are plenty of “DIY” environments in the wild and increasingly over the past few years we’ve seen platforms in the form of converged and hyper-converged offerings that streamline virtualization efforts into a turnkey appliance for hosting highly efficient virtualized environments – Dell EMC’s VxBlock, VxRack, and VxRail being leaders in this market. That said they are not “IaaS” in a box – they are in essence, and by no means do I intend this as derogatory, “VM dispensers,” albeit highly advanced ones.For customers that want to move beyond “advanced virtualization” techniques and truly embrace cloud computing there are likewise several possibilities. DIY projects are certainly plausible though they have an extremely high rate of failure – setting up, managing, and maintaining home grown cloud environments isn’t easy and the skill sets required aren’t cheap or inconsequential. There are offerings such as Dell EMC’s Enterprise Hybrid Cloud which build on top of our converged and hyper-converged platform offerings, building out the core capabilities that make cloud, cloud. For customers that are fundamentally concerned with delivery of IaaS services on-premises that can be delivered from a standardized platform managed and supported as a single unit, Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is a robust and capable cloud.So, what about something like the Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack? In this case, it’s all about intended use case. First let’s understand that the core use cases for Azure Stack are PaaS related – the end goal is to deliver Azure PaaS services in an on-prem/hybrid fashion. That said, Azure Stack also has the capability to deliver Azure consistent IaaS services as well. If your organization has a requirement or desire to deliver Azure based IaaS on-prem with a consistent “infrastructure as code” code base for deployment and management – Stack’s your huckleberry. What it is not is a replacement for your existing virtualization solutions. As an example, even in an all-Microsoft scenario there are capabilities and features that a Hyper-V/System Center-based solution can provide in terms of resiliency and performance that Azure Stack doesn’t provide.In short – virtualization, even really, really, good virtualization, isn’t IaaS and it’s not even cloud. It’s a mechanism for IT consolidation and efficiency. IaaS on the other hand builds on top of virtualization technologies and is focused on streamlining DevOps processes for rapid delivery of software and business results by proxy.In scenarios where delivery of IaaS in a hybrid, Azure-consistent fashion is the requirement, Azure Stack is an incredibly transformative IaaS offering. If Azure consistency is not a requirement, there are other potential solutions in the forms of either virtualization or on-prem based IaaS offerings that may well be a better fit for your organization.
Around this time every year, I always see an influx of the top trends in technology. It seems like the perennial hot topic is security, with good reason as each year the number of incidents and evolving creativity with which these attacks are orchestrated contribute to an increase in the sheer magnitude of losses.Every year there are new technologies that capture attention from network-based monitoring to artificial intelligence to increased threat detection for instance. Recently though, there’s been another trend that has cropped up, that has nothing to do with deploying a technology designed at mitigating cybersecurity issues, and that is risk insurance. Increasingly organizations are buying blanket policies that cover their liabilities, but do these actually protect your business? Sure, they might cover the expenses due to a failure to comply with regulatory requirements, or address lawsuit exposure but they don’t actually protect and, more importantly, recover your most critical asset: the data itself.We have transitioned to a time where every organization is now a technology company. It is a time where the most significant source of differentiation is often the data an organization keeps. It is in this world where data protection is so critical to the continued success of a digital business. It is also an area where many organizations struggle to find their footing and are often left exposed to substantial risk of data loss and downtime.Why is it so hard to get data protection right?Complexity: Data is now spread across the globe and on numerous platforms. Multi-cloud is the norm. Data platforms have become specialized to address specific workloads further creating a balkanization of the data landscape. All this makes it difficult, albeit nearly impossible, to maintain a data protection solution that spans the entire data footprint.Massive Data Growth: It isn’t uncommon for data to grow 50-80% year over year. As it keeps proliferating, that creates more and more challenges for backup and data retention. For organizations that value data, the need to retain more of it, and for longer become driving concerns.Increased Magnitude of an Event: As data becomes more prolific in its use across the organization the associated cost of downtime or data loss becomes magnified, forcing requirements for increased expectations on the protection solution since data must be available and recoverable as fast as possible.Further complicating things is that these challenges compound. They create tighter backup windows, more network bandwidth usage, require larger backup capacity, and cast a heavy burden on IT to maintain it all.Data Management Increasingly Becoming KeyIt is in this world that we must rethink data protection. Protecting data isn’t only about keeping it, now it requires continuous availability to be relevant. Data protection technologies can be used in new ways to accelerate migrations, power DevOps activities, simplify compliance and regulatory requirements, and facilitate the preservation of data for long-term monetization.By leveraging the Dell EMC Data Protection portfolio, you can simplify your data landscape by achieving coverage across heterogeneous and multi-cloud environments using flexible solutions that include software, integrated appliances, and target appliances. Additionally, we help reduce the amount of storage required by achieving data reduction rates up to 55:1 in a scalable easy to manage solution that meets your growing businesses’ needs. Finally, when events do occur, we can help you to mitigate the damage by providing up to a 10x faster recovery for mission-critical applications.More Than an Insurance PolicyAs I noted the idea of buying insurance to cover cyber incidents has become increasingly common and given the risks that are in this world, that course of action may be prudent. But it is time to take a critical look at the preparedness of the organization to address incidents more holistically. Data protection will be one of the most critical investment opportunities organizations have as they go digital. Organizations who make a corresponding investment won’t merely be safeguarding their data but also extending its value over time. This is my bold prediction for 2019, and that is the foundation for the work we are doing.Dell EMC has always been one of the most trusted names in data and in a world that runs on data capital we are increasingly looking at ways to help you protect this valuable asset.Learn more about Dell EMC Data Protection Solutions
Choice. Flexibility. High performance. These core values are the foundation of the Dell EMC HCI portfolio. Many factors contribute to our #1 ranking in hyperconverged systems[i],* our strategic partnerships — like the one we have with Microsoft – are important, as they allow us to enrich our offerings and deliver differentiated and significant capabilities to customers.This year at Microsoft Ignite (November 4-8, 2019 in Orlando, FL), Dell EMC is introducing new, expanded offerings for Microsoft customers across Dell EMC VxFlex, Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack, and Dell EMC Azure Stack HCI Ready Nodes. Each Dell EMC HCI offering has its own flavor and unique set of use cases and enhancements.Explosive data growth, emerging technologies and constantly changing IT requirements almost always guarantee that one size does not fit all. Dell EMC is one of the few vendors that delivers a wide variety of Microsoft offers to support customers no matter where their workloads live: on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid cloud environment.Let’s take a closer look at what’s new:Dell EMC VxFlex integrated systemsA flexible foundation for multi-hypervisor environments that delivers massive performance at scale.The Dell EMC VxFlex family is extending its support for Microsoft hypervisor and compute environments, delivering improved security and providing additional flexibility in managing and deploying VxFlex.What’s New:New Microsoft Hypervisor and Computing Support: The Dell EMC VxFlex family now offers additional automated hypervisor deployment options for cost-sensitive customers with Microsoft Hyper-V and Windows Server.Introducing DARE for Dell EMC VxFlex: To further protect customer’s data and security needs, Dell EMC VxFlex integrated rack and appliance now support Data at Rest Encryption (DARE) with full orchestration and support of Dell EMC CloudLink.End-to-End Dell Offering: To provide additional choice and cost options, Dell EMC VxFlex integrated rack now comes with the choice of integrated Dell networking to offer customers a first-ever full end-to-end Dell Technologies VxFlex solution.Storage-Only Deployment: Customers can now deploy their VxFlex system as a storage-only architecture. With this option, storage and compute nodes remain separate, providing the flexibility needed to manage each component independently.Dell EMC Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCIModernize infrastructure while taking advantage of built-in Azure hybrid services.The Dell EMC Solutions for Azure Stack HCI portfolio has been enhanced to help customers simplify HCI cluster management, expanded out node offerings specifically for edge and ROBO use cases and added new hardware technologies to improve performance.What’s New:Monitor and Manage Node Health: Native integration with Windows Admin Center (WAC) console provides customers with a single pane for management including HCI node inventory, health monitoring and compliance checks using the freely available Dell EMC OpenManage Integration for WAC.New Dell EMC Storage Spaces Direct Ready Nodes: The new Dell EMC R440 S2D Ready Node provides both hybrid and all-flash options for customers looking at modernizing IT infrastructure at the edge, as well as remote or small office locations.Increased Performance: Intel 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable Processors, all-NVMe configurations, Intel Optane SSDs and Optane DC persistent memory and 100Gb Ethernet on S2D Ready Nodes. With our portfolio enhancements, Dell EMC internal testing has shown up to 2.95M IOPS on just a four node Azure Stack HCI cluster, providing our customers with great performance and availability in a compact HCI cluster.Here is what Greg Altman, IT Infrastructure Manager at Swiff-Train and one our early customers had to say about our OpenManage integration with WAC:“The Dell EMC OpenManage Integration with Microsoft Windows Admin Center gives us full visibility to Dell EMC Solutions for Microsoft Azure Stack HCI, enabling us to more easily respond to situations before they become critical. With the new OpenManage integration, we can also manage Microsoft Azure Stack HCI from anywhere, even simultaneously managing our clusters located in different cities.ShareDell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure StackAn engineered hybrid cloud platform for a seamless on-premises Microsoft Azure Stack experience.Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack brings enhanced capabilities to customers and their workloads with our new four-socket Dell EMC PowerEdge R840 -based Scale Units; edge opportunities for the oil/gas/federal/military sector with our Tactical Azure Stack; and, additional automation and lifecycle management for customer simplicity. What’s New:New Intel Xeon Processors: Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack was recently updated across the entire solution portfolio to include the Intel 2nd Generation Xeon Scalable Processors including our new four-socket PowerEdge R840-based Scale Unit.Improved Lifecycle Management: Working in conjunction with Microsoft to enhance the lifecycle management capabilities, we will integrate OEM update packages into the Azure Stack Patch & Update (P&U) framework starting with Azure Stack build 1908 to simplify the P&U of the Scale Unit nodes. In addition, we are enhancing the existing P&U automation capabilities for the Hardware Lifecycle Host and associated software that reside outside of the Microsoft framework to further simplify the role of the Azure Stack Operator.Data Domain as a Service: Teaming with CloudAssert, we have developed a native resource provider for Azure Stack to offer Data Domain as a Service (DDaaS) via the Azure Stack portal. This enables Azure Stack Operators to provide their tenants with set offerings for Data Domain storage, which they can then use to protect their IaaS workloads. From a tenant perspective, users can deploy their choice of validated backup software – and connect that backup software to Data Domain, with multi-tenancy* and quota management handled transparently.Dell EMC Cloud for Microsoft Azure Stack includes consulting services provided by Dell Technologies Consulting to implement and integrate the system into customers’ environments. In addition, we can modernize or migrate applications for Azure and help IT create the operating model to fully take advantage of a hybrid cloud.If you’re attending Microsoft Ignite, stop by Booth #1547 to learn more about the Dell EMC HCI portfolio and demo our Dell EMC VxFlex appliance, Dell EMC Azure Stack HCI system and Dell EMC Azure Stack ruggedized node. If you’re not making it out to Orlando, you can explore our complete HCI portfolio here.*Note: Avamar currently only supported for single tenancy *IDC Quarterly Converged Systems Tracker, Vendor Revenue (US$M) Q2 2019
President Joe Biden has vowed to restore America’s place as a world leader in offering sanctuary to the oppressed by raising the cap on the number of refugees allowed in each year. He wants to raise admissions to 125,000 from the Trump administration’s record low of 15,000. But advocates say it will take much more to reestablish the pipeline. The Trump administration added layers of obstacles, including cutting jobs or reassigning those who interview and process refugee applications. It’s left a backlog of tens of thousands of cases. Advocates are pushing Biden for reforms that would shield the program from political swings in the future.
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian mining giant Vale signed a settlement deal on Thursday to pay 37.7 billion reais ($7 billion) to the state of Minas Gerais, two years after a dam rupture in the city of Brumadinho killed more than 270 people. The settlement signed Thursday will compensate families of victims and fund projects in Brumadinho and throughout the state. The collapse of a dam at Vale’s iron ore mining complex in January 2019 had unleashed a destructive torrent of mining waste, burying the equivalent of 300 soccer pitches under thick mud. Authorities say 11 people are still missing.