When we were switching to a microservice architecture for our application, we needed a larger and more automated datacenter to run it on. When we looked at existing datacenter designs that would give us the availability and redundancy we needed, costs rose quickly and performance dropped. Why is it we couldn’t take our little three-server test cluster and get linear performance and capacity increase without an exponential increase in cost?
Asking this question led us down the path of revisiting a number of assumptions:
It turns out none of these assumptions are true anymore. This enabled us to build a datacenter that is very different from our historical ones:
By realizing that switches and servers are the same, and work better together than they work apart, you can with minimal modification design a datacenter architecture that leverages the full programmability of modern hardware — bringing the principles of software, with rapid and agile development and change, to the hardware world. In fact, the only modification we have done is to Docker; the ability to have a dedicated IP address for every container, and having it store data volumes on CEPH.
This gives us some amazing benefits:
This session will share everything we’ve learned, and cover everything that you need to replicate what we’ve done. We can no longer imagine a world without this, and we want more people to enjoy the amazing benefits we now take for granted.
Thorvald Natvig is an architect at Medallia, working on a wide range of infrastructure and core application components, from network and server design to writing in-memory databases. He evangelizes synergistic designs, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Thorvald is an open source enthusiast, most known for creating the VoIP tool Mumble. Before joining Medallia, he got a PhD in high performance computing from NTNU in Norway.
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