Brocade APJ new blood Joe Poehls talks storage issues and trends

Joe Poehls, Principal Systems Engineer for Asia Pacific Japan, Brocade

Earlier this month, Brocade appointed Joe Poehls as Principal Systems Engineer for Asia Pacific Japan. Responsible for driving technical leadership, including consulting and customer deplyoments for Brocade across the region, Joe will be based in Tokyo, Japan; he reports to Orcun Tezel, Brocade senior director of Systems Engineering for APJ.

Joe joined from Infoblox with over 17 years of technology consulting experience. Previously the lead solution architect responsible for network security management against Domain Name System (DNS) vulnerabilities and data exfiltration with Infoblox, Joe also spent eight years at F5 Networks, where he specialized in data center network and core application design for Financial Services Industry (FSI) customers. 

With such a strong background in network design, we were curious to pick the brains of the new principal systems engineers for Brocade APJ. Joe accepted an email interview and we took the liberty to ask on some security issues as well as future of storage technologies. 
1.       Coming from a very strong background in network design, what are some of the common issues you see businesses face? (eg. in terms of adopting new storage technologies, or security issues, or workload performance etc.)

The common issues I see organisations facing in terms of their data storage and networking requirements, include the application trends of cloud adoption, DevOps, and SaaS, and an increased focus on data breach risk reduction.    

With the development and growth of IoT, Big Data, and Analytics, more devices are generating more data, and this data has to be stored, analyzed, and made useful in an environment where, more and more, businesses are looking to avoid owning hardware.  

This is driving cloud deployments, and cloud adoption in turn, is driving changes in how applications are designed and architected. While applications must have some components and data that must remain on-premise for compliance purposes, there is a trend toward developing lighter-weight, smaller application components that are fast to develop - especially containers, and applications that can move fluidly between on-premise and cloud facilities to deliver elastic resources and quick provisioning while taking variations in latency and other variables into account.

In tandem with this, resources are being shifted from application development to DevOps, with more focus on automating and building agility in how and where app components are deployed, instead of developing large monolithic apps.

Also in line with the trend towards greater agility and cloud adoption, organisations are choosing SaaS solutions when they can provide adequate solutions to meet their needs, instead of spending time and money to build apps that do everything they need.

With rapid adoption of new security solutions and increased monitoring and long term storage of data generated by monitoring solutions; security - driven by compliance requirements and associated penalties, remains top of mind, especially when focused on reducing the risk of data breaches.
2.       What storage technologies do you see businesses adopting in this region?

The application trends mentioned, are driving the need for high capacity yet highly agile storage with more emphasis on data portability so that large data sets can be moved from on-premise to cloud.

With data coming in from a large variety of sources, devices, sensors etc, more interest has been created for object storage: access to data by the metadata associated with it, with less interest in where the data is actually stored.

On the other hand virtualized/containerized applications mean that there is continued need for the storage technologies required to support virtual machines, but while organisations are still buying more traditional technologies like SAN/FC, NAS etc, the focus is on supporting virtualized environments.
3.       How do you see trends changing in storage technologies? Where do you see it in the next 3 – 5 years? 

Going forward, I see the need to continue growing the volume of storage being likely continue, and IoT and cloud adoption will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. In addition, compliance requirements mean data needs to be retained longer.

However where companies choose to grow their storage, will likely change – with increased adoption of cloud storage for large amounts of data that do not have compliance-sensitive requirements, increased managed service provider hosted cloud storage for data that needs to stay in-region and/or in-country but not necessarily on-premise, and localised storage for the data and apps that must be run on-premise.

For storage as for other data centre networking requirements, the network itself is undergoing an historic transformation with overlays, NFV-based services and analytics monitoring to help eliminate performance bottlenecks, and SDN control.
DevOps-style tools and methodologies for cross-functional collaboration and rapid IT deployment now have the potential to revolutionise network automation, speeding network provisioning and troubleshooting, and freeing up valuable human resources to create new innovation capacity within network operations.
Similarly, SDN technologies are making automation of new networking behaviours and services more easily achievable, fueled by the growing prevalence of open source projects such as OpenDaylight.
This evolution of network operations will require building new skillsets that will allow operations teams to develop automation using programmability, eventually weaning themselves from CLI as the dominant network operations tool.  Operations teams will have to develop the skillsets to properly integrate network automation with the automation that exists in other domains within the IT infrastructure in order to automate end-to-end workflows.

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