Some time ago, Microsoft acquired a company (and product) called StorSimple which they incorporated into Azure:
Recently, I have been looking into the implementation of StorSimple for potential Monza customers that need a hybrid cloud solution instead of a pure cloud solution. Of course, our approach to AzStudio and how we develop for clients is very cloud-centric. And seeing how StorSimple approaches their solution has prompted some thoughts on what it really means to be cloud-centric, and how people can approach it successfully or fail to capitalize on the sea-change that is cloud in IT problem solving.
StorSimple could work by simply connecting local storage to the Azure fabric and optimizing movement of files for backup and restores, providing management tools between the two environments, etc. (It does, in fact, do those things.) But if that is all that StorSimple did, it would have been a real failure of imagination and a failure to maximize the potential of cloud/hybrid-cloud solutions. Instead, the architects of StorSimple did something new. They developed an understanding of a minimum dataset that is pertinent to the customer right now. The minimum dataset is kept ‘cached’ (so to speak) in the local hybrid cloud and is made up of newly added data, often-requested data, or recently accessed data. Having this ‘cache’ of pertinent data on hand in the hybrid cloud allows for faster retrieval and optimized updates (of both hybrid and distant cloud sources), etc.
It’s a new way to think about data, that organizes things primarily around timeliness and importance, and maximizes the advantages and power of the cloud environment.
In a similar way, AzStudio’s approach to cloud is to assume that we are in the cloud and therefore we need to optimize our deployment and configuration across multiple clients, multiple projects, multiple versions, multiple environments, etc. We call this approach our Configuration-as-a-Service (CaaS) and use it to streamline deployment, support, security, etc., in ways that would be either impractical or impossible a typical (non-cloud) data center environment.
Seeing someone else approach cloud with a from-the-groud-up viewpoint of doing things in a new way is inspiring. I’ll be sure to follow StorSimple’s development from now on.