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A few days ago, I was chatting with my colleague about cars. He spent most of the conversation bragging about how his Tesla gained greater range and became faster overnight through an automatic software update. While not all of us can share this experience with our cars and still need to drive to a dealer for any update or enhancement, almost all of us with a modern phone can understand what it means to have “behind the scenes” software updates. I don’t recall when I last updated an app on my smart phone, because I have my preferences set to update automatically. As recently as five minutes ago, I browsed through the update history and noticed the vast number of software bugs that were automatically fixed…without me doing anything.

It’s interesting how prevalent this functionality is in consumer technology, and I still wonder why most enterprise software in the datacenter lacks the customer experience of consumer software.

The usual response is that enterprise software undergoes stricter governance, so implementing automatic software updates could pose a security risk—the update could introduce a bug that brings down production. While this is an argument to consider, I doubt security is impacted whether software updates are done automatically or manually. This is because software-as-a-service has gained significant momentum, and the current software in your datacenter already lists numerous known issues in the release notes. I believe that if updates are done more frequently, with proper software authenticity and security measures in place, chances are materially lower that your software would be open to vulnerabilities.

The reality is that traditionally, software-as-a-service and automatic software updates have only been features available for workloads deployed in the public cloud. Unfortunately, not all organizations can afford to host all their workloads on a public cloud—where they can make use of these consumer software-like features. Instead, most must maintain certain application workloads on-premises, in their datacenters or edge locations.

The good news is that it is now possible to simplify management and operations of infrastructure that is on-premises in your datacenter by implementing key infrastructure management as-a-service capabilities with remote fleet device control and behind-the-scenes software updates. Let’s explore further.

Take a different approach to infrastructure management

Typically, when it comes to managing infrastructure in the datacenter, most organizations either use the management interface of the infrastructure device itself or, at a certain scale, implement a local management station that runs software tools, controlling multiple infrastructure devices. Let me know if this sounds familiar: The management station has reached its scalability limit, so you implement a second one, then another one, and another one. Now you implement a manager of managers, because there are too many management endpoints to remember. At this point, you are not dealing with the challenges of managing your infrastructure. You are dealing with the pain of having to manage your management tools, their updates, permissions, and integration.

The best adjective to describe all of this: complex. Add this to the fact that many large companies not only have datacenters scattered all around the globe but increasingly many also have devices of all types at the edge—where more management is needed and where skilled resources are in short supply.

Here’s the simpler solution: Infrastructure management as-a-service, where management capabilities and tools are provided as a hosted cloud-based service that you don’t need to maintain, while your enterprise data and devices are still in your datacenters.

Simpler is always better—and in this case benefit rich

When you choose infrastructure management as-a-service, your IT team and your business reap benefits like the following:

Easy to use everywhere
Tailored to application owners, Infrastructure management as-a-service means that all you do is log in through an API or web portal interface (your choice) and all your management tools and capabilities are right there. This means you can manage your entire infrastructure fleet from a single UI, anywhere you are. You don’t connect to 50 different tools in 50 different locations around the globe, and you don’t deal with managers of managers.

Automatic feature updates
You never have to worry about or perform updates. Your Infrastructure management as-a-service service provider does that. Think of a cloud-based service like Gmail. You log off, you log on, and new updates are already there, with no action required on your part. Similar to my colleague’s Tesla experience, the software is being secured, enhanced, and optimized while you’re asleep in bed at night, and your car is parked in your garage. It’s the same with Infrastructure management as-a-service.

With Infrastructure management as-a-service, your infrastructure management can grow right along with your business and the infrastructure that supports it. If you have five devices and plan on adding five,100, or 1000 more, you can support all of it—both your existing and new infrastructure—with a single, common API. That’s the beauty of as-a-service.

No expertise required on your part
Traditional infrastructure management tools require that the person using the tools needs to know everything about them. The more infrastructure management stations you have, the more time and resources are needed. Infrastructure management as-a-service takes on that responsibility for you. Free from having to manage your infrastructure management, you can channel your energy to other priority tasks.

Cloud smarts
Many Infrastructure management as-a-service service providers continuously monitor your infrastructure, analyzing its performance and how well it’s configured to support your application set. Using cloud-based analytics on anonymous diagnostic data gathered from multiple customers, service providers can even offer specific optimization recommendations to individual customers. Analytics can also be used to make command executions like pinpointing when user activity is low and signaling, for example, the ideal time to execute data intensive migration operations.


The guardian of your infrastructure
At Nebulon, that’s how we think about infrastructure management as-a-service—as a built-in feature of the Nebulon smartInfrastructure solution. With smartInfrastructure, the control plane is in the cloud and is separated from the data plane that remains on-premises. This way, private data remains in the datacenter and the management piece is moved to the cloud, which in turn is how we can quickly make updates and changes to the tools you login and use. This is what keeps things so much simpler for you.

Interested to learn more? Request a demo.

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Tobias Flitsch

Principle Product Manager

Tobias Flitsch has been working in enterprise data storage for more than 10 years. As a former solution architect and technical product manager, Tobias focused on various different scale-up and scale-out file and object storage solutions, big data, and applied machine learning. At Nebulon, his product management focus is on understanding and solving customer challenges with large-scale infrastructure.