I’ve often thought about finding effective metaphors for conceptualizing IT/Data Center Infrastructure. As my professional experience really focused to networking and advanced storage about five years ago, initially I thought of a simple three-legged stool as Infrastructure, with Servers, Storage and Networking each composing one leg.
The problem with this analogy is it’s feels too inwardly directed, and posits a free-floating infrastructure which could practically exist in a void with no express purpose. But in the business world, strategists and decision makers are most interested in applications, and increasingly data (Big), which then drive supporting infrastructure requirements and not the other way around.
(Maybe the seat of the stool = Apps and Data, however this is kind of boring!)
Outside of IT infrastructure, one of my enduring interests has been music. As a teenager, I was fortunate enough to learn several instruments passably including piano, violin, and drums, as well as participate in several bands and orchestral groups. My first forays into the early, pre-Web information technology field were a sideways step during a phase when I was teaching myself digital audio engineering, and hip-hop production…I was so comfortable setting up my mess of home studio wires (RCA, MIDI, etc.) that it felt only natural to apply myself with Coax, Cat5 and Ethernet at my day job.
Listen to this timeless tune by The Beatles, “Baby You Can Drive My Car.” Note how Ringo Starr effortlessly supports John’s lead, never intrusive yet steady and perfectly matched for the feel and theme.
This reminds me of the ideal function of a well-architected Network within a modern data center infrastructure. The Network quite literally provides the heartbeat, or pulse, to which every local device and application requires some level of connectivity.
Think of drums, which provide tempo; time signature; beat, fills…
Maybe this makes sense?
- Drums – Networks
- Guitars – Servers
- Bass – Storage
- Vocals – Applications
- Lyrics – Data