|By Lori MacVittie||
|September 21, 2010 04:30 PM EDT||
Infrastructure 2.0 ≠ cloud computing ≠ IT as a Service. There is a difference between Infrastructure 2.0 and cloud. There is also a difference between cloud and IT as a Service. But they do go together, like a parfait. And everybody likes a parfait…
The introduction of the newest member of the cloud computing buzzword family is “IT as a Service.” It is understandably causing some confusion because, after all, isn’t that just another way to describe “private cloud”? No, actually it isn’t. There’s a lot more to it than that, and it’s very applicable to both private and public models. Furthermore, equating “cloud computing” to “IT as a Service” does both a big a disservice as making synonyms of “Infrastructure 2.0” and “cloud computing.” These three [ concepts | models | technologies ] are highly intertwined and in some cases even interdependent, but they are not the same.
In the simplest explanation possible: infrastructure 2.0 enables cloud computing which enables IT as a service.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dig in.
ENABLE DOES NOT MEAN EQUAL TO
One of the core issues seems to be the rush to equate “enable” with “equal”. There is a relationship between these three technological concepts but they are in no wise equivalent nor should be they be treated as such. Like SOA, the differences between them revolve primarily around the level of abstraction and the layers at which they operate. Not the layers of the OSI model or the technology stack, but the layers of a data center architecture.
Let’s start at the bottom, shall we?
At the very lowest layer of the architecture is Infrastructure 2.0. Infrastructure 2.0 is focused on enabling dynamism and collaboration across the network and application delivery network infrastructure. It is the way in which traditionally disconnected (from a communication and management point of view) data center foundational components are imbued with the ability to connect and collaborate. This is primarily accomplished via open, standards-based APIs that provide a granular set of operational functions that can be invoked from a variety of programmatic methods such as orchestration systems, custom applications, and via integration with traditional data center management solutions. Infrastructure 2.0 is about making the network smarter both from a management and a run-time (execution) point of view, but in the case of its relationship to cloud and IT as a Service the view is primarily focused on management.
Infrastructure 2.0 includes the service-enablement of everything from routers to switches, from load balancers to application acceleration, from firewalls to web application security components to server (physical and virtual) infrastructure. It is, distilled to its core essence, API-enabled components.
Cloud computing is the closest to SOA in that it is about enabling operational services in much the same way as SOA was about enabling business services. Cloud computing takes the infrastructure layer services and orchestrates them together to codify an operational process that provides a more efficient means by which compute, network, storage, and security resources can be provisioned and managed. This, like Infrastructure 2.0, is an enabling technology. Alone, these operational services are generally discrete and are packaged up specifically as the means to an end – on-demand provisioning of IT services.
Cloud computing is the service-enablement of operational services and also carries along the notion of an API. In the case of cloud computing, this API serves as a framework through which specific operations can be accomplished in a push-button like manner.
IT as a SERVICE
At the top of our technology pyramid, as it is likely obvious at this point we are building up to the “pinnacle” of IT by laying more aggressively focused layers atop one another, we have IT as a Service. IT as a Service, unlike cloud computing, is designed not only to be consumed by other IT-minded folks, but also by (allegedly) business folks. IT as a Service broadens the provisioning and management of resources and begins to include not only operational services but those services that are more, well, businessy, such as identity management and access to resources.
IT as a Service builds on the services provided by cloud computing, which is often called a “cloud framework” or a “cloud API” and provides the means by which resources can be provisioned and managed. Now that sounds an awful lot like “cloud computing” but the abstraction is a bit higher than what we expect with cloud. Even in a cloud computing API we are steal interacting more directly with operational and compute-type resources. We’re provisioning, primarily, infrastructure services but we are doing so at a much higher layer and in a way that makes it easy for both business and application developers and analysts to do so.
An example is probably in order at this point.
THE THREE LAYERS in the ARCHITECTURAL PARFAIT
Let us imagine a simple “application” which itself requires only one server and which must be available at all times.
That’s the “service” IT is going to provide to the business.
In order to accomplish this seemingly simple task, there’s a lot that actually has to go on under the hood, within the bowels of IT.
Consider, if you will, what fulfilling that request means. You need at least two servers and a Load balancer, you need a server and some storage, and you need – albeit unknown to the business user – firewall rules to ensure the application is only accessible to those whom you designate. So at the bottom layer of the stack (Infrastructure 2.0) you need a set of components that match these functions and they must be all be enabled with an API (or at a minimum by able to be automated via traditional scripting methods). Now the actual task of configuring a load balancer is not just a single API call. Ask RackSpace, or GoGrid, or Terremark, or any other cloud provider. It takes multiple steps to authenticate and configure – in the right order – that component. The same is true of many components at the infrastructure layer: the APIs are necessarily granular enough to provide the flexibility necessary to be combined in a way as to be customizable for each unique environment in which they may be deployed. So what you end up with is a set of infrastructure services that comprise the appropriate API calls for each component based on the specific operational policies in place.
At the next layer up you’re providing even more abstract frameworks. The “cloud API” at this layer may provide services such as “auto-scaling” that require a great deal of configuration and registration of components with other components. There’s automation and orchestration occurring at this layer of the IT Service Stack, as it were, that is much more complex but narrowly focused than at the previous infrastructure layer. It is at this layer that the services become more customized and able to provide business and customer specific options. It is also at this layer where things become more operationally focused, with the provisioning of “application resources” comprising perhaps the provisioning of both compute and storage resources. This layer also lays the foundation for metering and monitoring (cause you want to provide visibility, right?) which essentially overlays, i.e. makes a service of, multiple infrastructure resource monitoring services.
At the top layer is IT as a Service, and this is where systems become very abstracted and get turned into the IT King “A La Carte” Menu that is the ultimate goal according to everyone who’s anyone (and a few people who aren’t). This layer offers an interface to the cloud in such a way as to make self-service possible. It may not be Infrabook or even very pretty, but as long as it gets the job done cosmetics are just enhancing the value of what exists in the first place. IT as a Service is the culmination of all the work done at the previous layers to fine-tune services until they are at the point where they are consumable – in the sense that they are easy to understand and require no real technical understanding of what’s actually going on. After all, a business user or application developer doesn’t really need to know how the server and storage resources are provisioned, just in what sizes and how much it’s going to cost.
IT as a Service ultimately enables the end-user – whomever that may be – to easily “order” IT services to fulfill the application specific requirements associated with an application deployment. That means availability, scalability, security, monitoring, and performance.
A DYNAMIC DATA CENTER ARCHITECTURE
One of the first questions that should come to mind is: why does it matter? After all, one could cut out the “cloud computing” layer and go straight from infrastructure services to IT as a Service. While that’s technically true it eliminates one of the biggest benefits of a layered and highly abstracted architecture : agility. By presenting each layer to the layer above as services, we are effectively employing the principles of a service-oriented architecture and separating the implementation from the interface. This provides the ability to modify the implementation without impacting the interface, which means less down-time and very little – if any – modification in layers above the layer being modified. This translates into, at the lowest level, vender agnosticism and the ability to avoid vendor-lock in. If two components, say a Juniper switch and a Cisco switch, are enabled with the means by which they can be enabled as services, then it becomes possible to switch the two at the implementation layer without requiring the changes to trickle upward through the interface and into the higher layers of the architecture.
It’s polymorphism applied to an data center operation rather than a single object’s operations, to put it in developer’s terms. It’s SOA applied to a data center rather than an application, to put it in an architect’s terms.
It’s an architectural parfait and, as we all know, everybody loves a parfait, right?
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:30 PM EST Reads: 4,964
SYS-CON Events announced today that CodeFutures, a leading supplier of database performance tools, has been named a “Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. CodeFutures is an independent software vendor focused on providing tools that deliver database performance tools that increase productivity during database development and increase database performance and scalability during production.
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 2,398
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
Jan. 25, 2015 04:00 PM EST Reads: 3,644
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Jan. 25, 2015 03:00 PM EST Reads: 3,708
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:30 PM EST Reads: 3,734
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:15 PM EST Reads: 4,635
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EST Reads: 5,147
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
Jan. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EST Reads: 5,481
SYS-CON Media announced that Cisco, a worldwide leader in IT that helps companies seize the opportunities of tomorrow, has launched a new ad campaign in Cloud Computing Journal. The ad campaign, a webcast titled 'Is Your Data Center Ready for the Application Economy?', focuses on the latest data center networking technologies, including SDN or ACI, and how customers are using SDN and ACI in their organizations to achieve business agility. The Cisco webcast is available on-demand.
Jan. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,810
“The age of the Internet of Things is upon us,” stated Thomas Svensson, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA, ThingWorx, “and working with forward-thinking companies, such as Elisa, enables us to deploy our leading technology so that customers can profit from complete, end-to-end solutions.” ThingWorx, a PTC® (Nasdaq: PTC) business and Internet of Things (IoT) platform provider, announced on Monday that Elisa, Finnish provider of mobile and fixed broadband subscriptions, will deploy ThingWorx® platform technology to enable a new Elisa IoT service in Finland and Estonia.
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,104
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 4,392
As enterprises move to all-IP networks and cloud-based applications, communications service providers (CSPs) – facing increased competition from over-the-top providers delivering content via the Internet and independently of CSPs – must be able to offer seamless cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions that can scale for small, midsize, and large enterprises, as well as public sector organizations, in order to keep and grow market share. The latest version of Oracle Communications Unified Communications Suite gives CSPs the capability to do just that. In addition, its integration ...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 4,188
SYS-CON Events announced today that ActiveState, the leading independent Cloud Foundry and Docker-based PaaS provider, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. ActiveState believes that enterprises gain a competitive advantage when they are able to quickly create, deploy and efficiently manage software solutions that immediately create business value, but they face many challenges that prevent them from doing so. The Company is uniquely positioned to help address these challenges thro...
Jan. 25, 2015 11:00 AM EST Reads: 2,754
From telemedicine to smart cars, digital homes and industrial monitoring, the explosive growth of IoT has created exciting new business opportunities for real time calls and messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ivelin Ivanov, CEO and Co-Founder of Telestax, shared some of the new revenue sources that IoT created for Restcomm – the open source telephony platform from Telestax. Ivelin Ivanov is a technology entrepreneur who founded Mobicents, an Open Source VoIP Platform, to help create, deploy, and manage applications integrating voice, video and data. He is the co-founder of TeleStax, a...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:45 AM EST Reads: 4,600
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:30 AM EST Reads: 3,557
Disruptive macro trends in technology are impacting and dramatically changing the "art of the possible" relative to supply chain management practices through the innovative use of IoT, cloud, machine learning and Big Data to enable connected ecosystems of engagement. Enterprise informatics can now move beyond point solutions that merely monitor the past and implement integrated enterprise fabrics that enable end-to-end supply chain visibility to improve customer service delivery and optimize supplier management. Learn about enterprise architecture strategies for designing connected systems tha...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 4,490
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Jan. 25, 2015 10:00 AM EST Reads: 3,392
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Jan. 25, 2015 09:30 AM EST Reads: 3,273
Recurring revenue models are great for driving new business in every market sector, but they are complex and need to be effectively managed to maximize profits. How you handle the range of options for pricing, co-terming and proration will ultimately determine the fate of your bottom line. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems, session examined: How time impacts recurring revenue How to effectively handle customer plan changes The range of pricing and packaging options to consider
Jan. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EST Reads: 3,877
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Jan. 25, 2015 02:00 AM EST Reads: 4,200