At first sight, these two technologies are totally different and you won’t talk about them together. But looking closely at the philosophies behind them, I find they are surprisingly similar and I hope you would agree with me after reading through this article.
A Quick Overview
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Before getting into the detailed analysis, let’s take a quick look at the concepts and histories of both technologies.
According to Wikipedia, “Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a programming paradigm using ‘objects’ – usually instances of a class – consisting of data fields and methods together with their interactions – to design applications and computer programs.” Before the OOP got popular, people used functional programming languages like C, which you have to design the data structure and functions separately. Everything works fine except that it’s not as convenient as the later OOP. As today, OOP is the dominant programming paradigm for application software developments.
Unlike the OOP, converged infrastructure is relatively new. It started about 3 years ago by EMC and led to the creation of VCE (a joint venture of V.C.E.)[Disclosure: I work for VCE now]. The idea has been quickly imitated by other vendors like HP, Dell, and IBM. If you watched the partner demos in second day keynote of VMworld this year, you know what I am talking about.
Instead of having servers, storages, and networking managed in data center level, the converged infrastructure packages a set of servers, storages and networking gears in a box. Different vendors call the box different names as you can imagine. At VCE, the box is called vBlock, simple enough to mean that it’s a building block for data center.
Although CI and OOP are pretty different in their problem domains, they both group smaller components in a meaningful way for high granularity. The benefit is quite obvious: it’s simply easier to build on the bigger entities and manage them than before. The OOP has proven to be a great advance in programmer productivity. Suffice it to say the same for CI for system administrators.
This following table summarizes the commonalities of both technologies. From technical perspective the equivalents may not make all sense but shows the different entities at different granularities.
|Converged Infrastructure||Object Oriented Programming|
What to Look Next?
Unlike OOP’s dominance, the CI just got started. Fundamentally they solve problems with same philosophy: increase the granularity of your working entities for higher productivity. Because of that, I believe the huge success of the philosophy with OOP in software development will repeat itself with CI in modern data center infrastructure.