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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Portworx CEO Murli Mohan Thirumale (Part 2)

Posted on Friday, Dec 11th 2020

Murli Thirumale: What has been driving the world in the last five years has been app agility. It’s how you develop apps anywhere really quickly. Apps are changing, and it’s a very competitive environment. People are using an application to win in their business whether it’s in banking or if it’s a service provider.

The desire is to be able to make rapid app changes and deploy those changes very quickly. That’s led to a new technology called containers. It’s pretty prevalent right now.

About 70% of enterprises have already deployed containers in some form or the other. The anticipation is that well over 50% of all workloads in the enterprise will be converted in the next few years to run on containers.

The container is an odd name but it comes from the shipping container and it has a lot of parallels. The idea is that once you put your code in a container, then essentially you can make changes to the code and it’s going to run every time everywhere.

You could deploy a containerized application. Let’s say, we have Amazon this week, and two weeks from now if you choose, you can launch it in China on Alibaba Cloud. It’s going to run as long as it’s a Lynx subscript. Containers are transforming the app landscape with the ability to make changes to apps quickly and deploy them anywhere.

What we discovered several years ago was that when customers were starting to use containers, they were stubbing their toes when they got to the data part. Every app has data associated with it, and the data was not agile.

The reason that the data was not agile was that it was still a slave to the old storage paradigm where old storage arrays were siloed. It was not a fundamentally distributed thing. The cloud end is distributed. You can have thousands of nodes. The old arrays were not keeping up with it.

Imagine that you have this application fabric called containers. These containers are whizzing around. They are being created and erased in real-time. It’s an ephemeral existence for containers, because their users were coming on board and signing off, and so on.

The old storage underneath was slow and not distributed and not able to keep up. What we did at Portworx was build a software layer to connect that rapid agile fabric of containers to the underlying storage. We essentially built another overlay fabric – purely in software – that could keep up with containers.

That’s our value in this. We now have data agility matching the app ability you get from containers. We did this by making a software layer that was an extension of Kubernetes. It’s an open source project that came from Google. It’s deployed for decades now inside of Google under the moniker of Borg.

Google always has great names for its projects. Borg runs your Gmail and search all inside Google. They open-sourced that code and made it available. We have been using it ourselves as users for years.

Kubernetes is being deployed all around the world to deploy and orchestrate containers. Kubernetes orchestrates containers, but it doesn’t orchestrate data. Portworx extends Kubernetes to orchestrate data with the software extension. That’s the trend.

With the combination of a docker container like Kubernetes and Portworx, a customer can now deploy applications in containers and orchestrate them to go run anywhere. Kubernetes allows them to run anywhere and Portworx orchestrates the underlying data so that it could be equally agile.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Portworx CEO Murli Mohan Thirumale
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