Author: impr

CLOUD COMPUTING INSIGHTS: Achieving the Dream of Utility Computing

Imin Lee, CEO of AccelOps (www.accelops.net), says: Computing as a utility remains the dream of data center managers, where more resources are just available when you need them, like electricity when you turn on the lights. Dynamic hosting and cloud computing are the core technologies that are going to make that dream of utility computing a reality. In dynamic hosting and cloud computing environments, new network, server, VM and applications can be provisioned dynamically, by customer and at various time periods. That certainly sounds like utility computing, but as any IT manager who’s done it can tell you, it is far from throwing a light switch. Certainly the first step is to position the virtualization and network elements needed to power the delivery of on-demand provisioned IT services, and then to integrate them with existing services, topics that get a lot of attention in the media. What is not talked about, however, is that successful cloud adoption will depend on assessing data center and cloud management controls that will ensure a more reliable and secure delivery of private/ hybrid cloud services. Managing security and compliance risks will be paramount, and equally critical is performancemonitoring. Since service providers offer SLAs to meet availability and performance requirements, they haveimplemented data center and cloud monitoring tools. Unfortunately, the same capability that isbringing us closer to utility computing — dynamic provisioning — can impact...

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Cloud Bursting: Maximizing Resources

Chuck Hobart, senior engagement manager with VMC consulting (www.vmc.com), says: The optimal ROI for Cloud bursting is a highly cyclical business model, which cannot afford to build the data structures required for peak load, and as a result, lose potential business. Cloud bursting allows highly cyclic businesses to apply “Kanban” methodology to trigger additional capacity to meet “just in time” demand. Scaling both up and down maximizes the utilization of resources to perfectly align with the business need. There are a number of industries where Cloud bursting would be of exceptional value. An example is online floral companies. There are days during the year when demand is one thousand times normal (Valentine’s Day, Mothers day, etc.). Another example is online education, where demand is very strong in the evening but very low during the course of the day. Proper sampling can provide enough data to design scripting to automate response to the predicted need. Cloud bursting requires a microscope—not a sledgehammer—to extract the true...

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Bursting The Cloud: Scaling Service To Meet Demand

Alan Murphy, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at F5 Networks (www.f5.com), says: Cloudbursting. Cloudbursting means that applications and services are dynamically provisioned in the cloud based on need, consumed in the cloud by users, and then de-provisioned after the need goes away. Cloudbursting a compelling model and driver for cloud computing. It is a true use case for a real-world hybrid cloud architecture. One key area to consider before building a burst-able cloud architecture is the user. User. The core driver for most cloudbursting solutions is continued access to an application or service for end-users. As demand for that application or service increases, local resources become depleted resulting in a lower quality user experience and ultimately a denial of service. By bursting the application or service into the cloud, an enterprise can scale that service to meet demand as needed, providing a near limitless pool of resource to maintain user experience. Knowing how users are interacting with the application, and when, and from where, will enable more control over managing the burst event, resulting in a more predictable and manageable end-user...

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An On-demand Self-service Cloud Platform

– Ophir Kra-Oz, Co-founder and VP of Products for CloudShare (www.cloudshare.com), says: Self-service cloud platform: useful for today’s small to midsized enterprise.An on-demand self-service cloud platform is ideal for running demonstrations, proofs-of-concept, technical evaluations, and training. CloudShare Pro and ProPlus, designed for individual users, teams and small- and midsize businesses, use CloudShare to create virtual data centers for application development and testing, demos, proofs of concept, deployment of enterprise IT/applications and training. Moreover, with CloudShare, businesses experience major cost and time savings because there is no need to staff up the IT department or invest in hardware, servers, etc. The ProPlus. CloudShare ProPlus is designed for developers, IT professionals, consultants and other individuals and small teams to instantly create, share and manage multiple copies of complex, virtual IT environments in the cloud. It includes all the features of the free CloudShare Pro product including: • “Drag and drop” file sharing from your desktop• Ability to invite peers, customers, or prospects to share your environment• Create a Multi-VM networked environment• On-demand environment snapshots• Collaborate and get support from our community forum• Quickly upload your own VM based on our templates with our patent-pending FastUpload™ capability• Your choice of up to three VMs with preinstalled OSs and apps: Choose from CentOS 5, CentOS 5 with KDE, CentOS 5 with MySQL, CentOS 5 with RubyOnRails, Xubuntu 8 Desktop, Xubuntu 8.04 Desktop, Windows...

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Tips for Building A Private Cloud

Dev Chanchani, President of INetU (www.inetu.net), says: Make sure to pick the right Cloud for your project.Public clouds are excellent for testing environments and short term projects. There are no long term commitments, you pay for what you use, and they can usually be turned on and off quite easily. If your project involves sensitive data, however, a public cloud may be unsuitable. Security standards on public clouds make companies think twice about using them to host sensitive data, and many compliance standards make public clouds a non-starter. Private clouds are the alternative if you want the efficiencies of a virtualized environment with custom-tailored security standards. Two other approaches help companies find a middle ground. An approach called Hybrid Cloud, which hosts non-sensitive applications on the Public Cloud and sensitive data on Private Clouds or on physical dedicated hardware, is growing in popularity. Additionally there are Community Clouds, which are not open to anyone and everyone (think gated community) but offer higher security standards than the Public Cloud. Make sure the appropriate service levels are included, and take note of a la carte options.When comparing Cloud Hosting versus more traditional forms of hosting, it is good to keep in mind that most Cloud Hosting offerings are presented on an a la carte basis. This means managed services will not be included in most cases. If being on your own...

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The Future of Storage in the Cloud

Patrick Baillie, CEO of CloudSigma (www.cloudsigma.com), says: Delivering robust yet high performing storage in the cloud has been one of the greatest hardware and software challenges in the explosion of cloud computing. Poor storage performance from many leading Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds is one of the most cited complaints by users. In this post I will outline the dominant approach to storage currently, our current approach and what the future holds for cloud storage. The great news is that a revolution in how data is stored and accessed is right around the corner! Along with networking performance, storage performance is one of the key differentiating factors between different IaaS clouds. Storage performance varies widely across different clouds and even within the same cloud over time. While managing CPU, RAM and networking securely and reliably has been largely solved, delivery of secure reliable storage clearly hasn’t. One of the key trade-offs traditionally with storage is between performance and redundancy/reliability. The more redundant a storage solution, the slower the performance as any write action needs to be duplicated in a way not necessary without less replication/redundancy. For example, holding storage in RAID1 gives much higher performance than RAID5 or RAID6. If a drive fails in RAID1, until the second drive is reconstituted, all data on the remaining drive is at risk if a further drive fails (the same is the case under...

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Building a Private Cloud: Tips for Data Center and IT Managers

Steve Lesem, President and CEO of Mezeo Software (www.mezeo.com), says: Identify a use case before starting. A common mistake that we see is the extraordinary focus on the technology as opposed to a focus on your cloud storage use case and the business case that surrounds the use case. The project should start with an analysis of the use case and it’s resulting impact on the business, and operate on the assumption you can source a cloud of appropriate size, scalability and costs. Research technology solutions that are most appropriate for your use case. When you take the use case approach, you will quickly understand that a private cloud is not just a storage infrastructure, but an ecosystem of cloud storage clients, backup and archive solutions, special purpose data movers, management and support, that, when combined with a cloud storage infrastructure gives you a complete solution. Once again, use case focus will flush this out, versus a platform technology led process. Integrate cloud storage with your overall cloud computing strategy. A storage cloud is simply one layer of a cloud computing stack. How does this cloud fit within your cloud computing stack? Does the way in which you integrate it support the other cloud computing decisions you have made? Evaluation of the cloud storage solution and how it will interact with, support and/or be the infrastructure associated with your...

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How You Can Succeed in Today's Cloud

– Peter Coffee, Director of Platform Research with Salesforce.com (www.salesforce.com), says: Innovate rather than migrate. If someone asks, “what should we migrate to the cloud?”, challenge the premise. Rather than migrating something that’s working well enough to be useful today, look at the list of business unit needs that may have been going unmet for months, quarters or years. Measured productivity gains on cloud development platforms such as Force.com can shift long-deferred projects across the line to viability — and even make them candidates for producing compelling returns on investment. Lead with the data. Apply a formal security discipline such as National Security Agency’s Information Assurance Methodology to develop an inventory of the elements of data you hold and use, and the processes that handle or change that data — as well as the duties of care that you owe to those who trust you with their information. The security that you believe you have in your on-premise systems may be more than you actually need in some respects, and may be less than it should be in other areas: evaluate cloud offerings in terms of their ability to do what’s needed, rather than merely reproducing what you have now. Grant privileges with precision. Legacy IT models have traditionally offered only a simple hierarchy of privilege, resulting in “superuser” administrators having access that they don’t actually need to do...

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How to be Successful in the Cloud

– Keao Caindec, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer with OpSource (www.opsource.net) says:Don’t compromise on cloud security. Cloud security is critical.  Evaluate your cloud provider based on five levels of security: data center, data encryption, network and network access.  Make sure the data center has 24×7 monitoring, on-site security personnel and closed circuit cameras, biometric two-factor authentication for access, and audit logs. Understand whether your data is stored and transmitted encrypted or not.  Understand whether your servers can be segmented on a separate VLAN and whether you can customize firewalls and load balancing.  Finally, understand how you can access your servers (e.g. public Internet only, VPN tunnel, MPLS, Ethernet cross connect).  Security is critical, and you should be able to customize and secure your cloud environment in the same way that you secure your shared resources in your own data center. Leverage the power of the Community. Be sure to get advice from other cloud user.  They’ve been there and done that.  Each cloud provider should have a rich community of end users willing to help you get started quickly.  In considering a cloud provider, look to their cloud community website to make sure you’ll be able to benefit from the experience of others.  Whether you’re looking to simply setup WordPress on Linux server or deploy a full Microsoft .NET 3.5 Framework environment, you’ll be able to move more quickly by...

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Cloud Computing: Tips for Success

– Vidur Apparao, CTO with LiveOps (www.liveops.com), says: Understand how your cloud provider calculates availability Many cloud technology providers provide Service Level Agreements (SLAs) around availability. However, make sure you understand how your provider actually calculates availability – five nines may not always mean what you think it does. The key is to clearly understand how your provider defines “downtime.” Some providers take “planned downtime” for maintenance or upgrades on a regular basis and don’t count this period in their availability calculation. If you are running a 24/7 operation, any downtime – planned or otherwise – will impact your service. A cloud provider should be able to maintain availability through maintenance and upgrade operations. A provider may not consider their service down for SLA calculation purposes unless it is completely down. There are times when a cloud platform could experience isolated delivery problems, but this may not be counted against your cloud provider’s availability. A provider’s SLA should reflect how well the provider is serving you and your users. Finally, a cloud technology provider may use network, infrastructure or platform services from its own vendors and partners. Some cloud providers do not take responsibility for the availability of these third-party services, even if they are critical elements of the primary service. A provider’s SLA should cover the availability of all of the services on which it depends. Security is...

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