Of all the divergent paths that data center architectures could take in the coming years, with the advent of virtualization, the cloud, SDN and all the rest, it is somewhat incongruous that decisions regarding physical layer infrastructure should fall into two primary camps: proprietary vs. commodity.
These two approaches have been battling for enterprise hearts and minds for some time, but these days the argument isn’t so much over costs and capabilities as it is about how best to lay the foundation for the advanced, dynamic architectures that are coming the way of IT.
Take Oracle, for example. The company has long championed the tight integration of hardware and software as the best means to provide optimal data performance, so much so that its initial reaction to the cloud was rather dismissive. These days, though, the company is all about the cloud and other advanced architectures, provided they reside on an integrated platform like the M6 cluster or the Exadata Database Machine. With both hardware and software working in conjunction, the argument goes, the enterprise will gain a higher level of productivity than is available through conglomerations of commodity boxes running open source systems.