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Toigo: The importance of automation in resource pooling

According to Jon Toigo, automation is necessary to manage a software-defined data center -- but virtualization can bring additional complexity.

Toigo said resource pooling takes the hardware available in an environment's compute, network and storage layers, and makes it available for allocation. But the goal was to supply resources to provision virtualization on an as-needed basis, and "that cannot happen" without automation, according to Toigo.

Toigo is CEO and managing principal of analyst firm Toigo Partners International, as well as chairman and co-founder of the Data Management Institute.

"You need to be able to have the technology to understand what's required … to provision [resources] efficiently, de-allocate them efficiently when the need for them goes away [and] to restore them back to the pool," said Toigo, later adding, "That requires automation and management."

Toigo pointed to a model recommended by the U.S. government for what is required for this level of automation. It includes a management layer and an operations layer and implementing numerous management components, data protection, system administration and other processes.

"Geez, that's looking like a conventional data center, isn't it? Where's this brave new world?" asked Toigo.

And then you need a "robust delivery layer, which includes the components of a working business," said Toigo, such as financial management, continuity and availability management, among others.

"How is this different? We just added an abstraction layer, and now we're trying to deal with the disruption that the abstraction layer has created," said Toigo.

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