ROBO can mean a lot of different things to people, depending on the use case. So I’m going to list some of those use cases and drill into them so that we can better understand how to design for them.
1) Remote Office Branch Office
This is the literal interpretation of ROBO, where a small amount of infrastructure is required for local workloads and a larger datacenter infrastructure is located somewhere else.
Small and Medium Business. This is a small infrastructure that may act as the only datacenter for a company. Costs and management overhead are primary factors. Some SMBs may have multiple sites, and require some datacenter-like functionality.
3) DR site
A DR site may require the capabilities of running all workloads from another site, or run a subset of them, or possibly just act as a replication target.
4) Pop-up site (Edge)
On-demand, or pop-up sites need to be provisioned and deployed in a very short period of time, then torn down just as quickly. There is no room for config or operational error and the entire process must be streamlined.
5) Mobile (Edge)
This means physical mobile. Terrestrial vehicle, aircraft, watercraft, spacecraft. These require physically hardened systems resistant to shock, vibrate, temperature extremes, pressure, fire, water, and physical damage.
6) Industrial (Edge)
Hardened, resilient systems that need extremely high availability. These are often parts of critical systems and have no room for loss of availability. An example are SCADA control and monitoring systems.
7) IoT (Edge)
Internet of Things device management, data analysis and processing. Run applications to interpret data closure to the edge for quicker response times or higher security, than sending data to the cloud.
8) Tactical (Edge)
These are meant for rapid deployment and centralized management. They provide operational services for military, government and emergency services. They need to be easily deployable, replicate data, ensure encryption and can be disposed of in short order if required.
9) Small datacenter
This may be a small quantity of nodes, thus it fits the ROBO ideal, but it has tier 1 workloads. These could be databases, Artificial Intelligence GPU backed workloads, etc.
10) Dev / Test / Lab
Also not entirely ROBO, it will often start small to replicate a production workload. Because of its often small initial footprint, it is being added to this category.
In the next post we will look at node types from Nutanix and various OEMs to see what hardware can be used for these use cases.