Architects must choose: Will they fill their datacenters with pets or cattle?

Today we’ve got an analogy for you. It has to do with your IT infrastructure, and whether you aim to fill your datacenter with expensive, proprietary equipment and software or a better, more efficient alternative. It comes to you via a Q&A with Red Hat’s Brent Compton, director of storage and big data.

So sit back, grab some lemonade, don your 10-gallon hat and spurs, and read on, pardner!

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What are pets and cattle and how do they relate to storage?
Pets and cattle are a data center metaphor coined by OpenStack. Pets equate to old school data while cattle equates to new school data.

What are pets?
Think about how much coddling you give your pets. This is analogous to big proprietary traditional data centers with their big, scale-up storage servers that consume a lot of resources, require a lot of administrative time and effort, and need constant coddling, much as you do with a pet.

What are the cattle?
Hyperscale companies – Google, Apple, Facebook, and so on – couldn’t scale, so they fundamentally altered the way data centers work so they function like cattle. For, while tradition data centers offer custom treatments, such as you do with pets, these organizations expect individual nodes to fail, making them, much like cattle, replaceable.

How is does this relate to Red Hat?
Red Hat is a driving force behind the switch from high-cost pets to commodity cattle as it relates right now in the storage industry.

Is this structured data or unstructured data?
Both are growing. Structured data, which is based on relational databases, continues to grow. But unstructured, or semi-structured data – such as when someone takes a selfie or records a video of their toddler – is exploding.

Where is Red Hat Storage in this?
Red Hat Storage is at the nexus of a lot of this. X86 server plus data services software is a compelling commodity data storage combination.

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