What do Walt Disney World, The Matrix, and Big Ben have in common?  On the surface they do not share much.  Each of these is special because everything that makes them tick, pun intended, are hidden from view of the consumers.  We all intuitively know there is a great deal of complexity behind the scenes, but it is intentionally hidden from the users.  This is the behavior consumers of cloud-based services also expect, even in the datacenter.

Today vendors are working hard to make their products and services more consumable in a nearly seamless fashion.  They are accomplishing this by adding abstract control layers, open APIs with robust development kits, and enabling cross platform integrations.  The recognition is that in today’s virtualized datacenter and the Internet of everything no technology is an island any longer.  Efforts have to be made to make interoperability a priority in order to provide the polished experience that consumers have grown to expect.  The question being answered is ‘Why doesn’t X communicate with Y?’

A few standouts come to mind when looking at companies who are developing this experience in the datacenter.  Cisco’s UCS XML API and onePK project are setting a new standard for hardware control in the compute and network space.  EMC’s ViPR and SolidFire’s native API extend unprecedented control over storage platforms.  In fact it’s a big reason why I chose SolidFire for my recent career move.  On top of this we’re seeing increased maturation of orchestration and end-user portal development for the hardware and software layers.  This investment means that cloud consumers, regardless of private or public, are starting to get levels of service previously improbable without considerable staffing.

In the consumer space we’re seeing the explosion of the software-based ecosystem.  Google, Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft are all working hard to make interacting with their services as seamless as possible between devices and platforms.  This is not done by accident and is a concerted effort to make the experience feel effortless.  In a recent visit to Disney World my family was able to travel the park, have an amazing experience, and have a single method for authentication and making purchases with their new MagicBands.  This wearable technology works alongside their mobile app, website, and in-park kiosks to help manage your visit.  It is a model for the future consumers will grow to expect.

Datacenter managers and consumers alike are benefiting in a huge way as these products and strategies continue to improve.  The next generation datacenter now has the maturing capabilities of the Software-Defined movement, which wouldn’t be possible without the increased investments in hardware extensibility.  IT teams are getting more advanced tools and simplified interfaces for managing their always-growing environments.  As we move forward expect to see even more intelligent systems as feedback and policy pre-define the behavior of infrastructure and applications.

Consumers will also continue realizing the benefit of Jetson’s like effortless experiences.  In fact, evidence of these efforts is right in front of your face.  Once you are finished reading this post there are some social media icons integrated directly in this page for sharing with your network from your laptop, tablet, or smart phone.  It couldn’t be much easier, just as it should be.


Josh Atwell

Cloud Architect