The War for Data Management

Michael Vizard

Suddenly, data management is red hot thanks to the advent of private cloud computing. After being seen as an elite discipline dominated mainly by database administrators, data management architecture is now at the center of the war for dominance over cloud computing.

EMC this week outlined its vision for a more elastic approach to managing data stored in distributed caches across the enterprise using dedicated VPLEX appliances. That offering is widely seen to be a response to a similar approach to managing data stored in distributed cache servers that NetApp outlines earlier this year.

According to EMC CTO Pat Gelsinger, the VPLEX architecture allows applications to be processed independently of each other, while the VPLEX appliances manage and synchronize updates to data in the background.

NetApp's approach, referred to as Data-at-a-Distance, adds a layer of software on top of NetApp storage arrays to make data accessible to distributed cache servers. According to Val Bercovici, senior director for the office of the CTO at NetApp, this approach adds less overhead to the IT infrastructure, while at the same time requiring no changes to existing applications.

EMC and NetApp won't be the only storage vendors vying for control over the future of data management in the cloud. But one thing that is becoming clearer is that our current approaches to managing data are not going to scale to meet the elastic requirements of the next generation of cloud computing applications, which by definition require systems that can serve up data with a minimum of latency regardless of where an application virtually resides in the enterprise.

That kind of reinvention of the relationship between how data is both managed and stored won't come easily, but as more data processing takes place in memory on multi-core processors, the more inevitable fundamental changes to data management become.

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