Tech Field Day 13 Preview: Robin Systems

I am continuing my Tech Field Day 13 preview series with Robin Systems. Robin offers a compelling infrastructure that takes an application-first look at a datacenter. Virtualization changed the datacenter by abstracting the OS away from the hardware. You could devote one application to one OS and run many virtual machines on one physical host. As virtualization has evolved, many businesses use a VM first approach. This are some consequences: Running a VM requires overhead for the OS and essentially ties the application to that one VM. There is some portability with migrations but application scaling required more VMs.

Robin addresses these problems in a couple of interesting ways. First, they utilize containers to abstract the application away from the OS. Using a container minimizes the overhead and OS sprawl associated with virtualization. Then, they create an application-aware compute and storage fabric that pools compute and storage to power the containers.

The heart of the product is the application-aware fabric controller. It works as a management layer for the whole system. The controller can be programmed to deploy applications in one click and to set Storage QoS for different applications and environments. If you have a production application and need to test it, their QoS feature will keep your production environment running at the guaranteed threshold. Even multiple test instances won’t impact production performance. It also knows if an app has stateful data and stores that data in protected volumes to make sure it is highly available.

I have a confession to make: As a VMware guy my understanding of containers is sparse at best. Researching Robin Systems has helped me wrap my mind around containers. It has also made me wonder why more systems aren’t built around the applications. This shift in focus from infrastructure to app makes me excited to learn more about Robin Systems during Tech Field Day.