|By Ranvir Wadera||
|April 5, 2013 02:15 PM EDT||
Today's IT infrastructure is in the midst of a major transformation. In many ways, the data center is a victim of its own success. The growing number of technologies and applications residing in the data center has spawned increasing complexity, which makes IT as a whole less responsive and agile. While businesses are focused on moving faster than ever, large and complex infrastructure is inherently rigid and inefficient.
As a result, IT is moving outside the traditional data center into colocation facilities and cloud infrastructures - essentially Infrastructure Anywhere. The move to Infrastructure Anywhere is driven by the core objective of improving responsiveness and agility and reducing costs. For example, you can scale up resources through the cloud in minutes, not months. But for all of its benefits, this new Infrastructure Anywhere model presents critical challenges.
To make smart decisions about where to run applications and what kind of resources you need, you first must understand your workload: utilization, capacity, and cost. Gaining unified visibility is difficult when your application workloads are distributed across data centers and colocation facilities in different parts of the country or around the world. With limited visibility, how do you accurately align resources and capacity with workloads for efficient processing, cost control, and - more important - achieve the full business value of your IT investment?
It's All About Agility
According to the results of Sentilla's recent survey of data center professionals about their plans for cloud deployments, agility and flexibility are the top drivers behind enterprise IT transformation initiatives such as cloud deployments - followed closely by issues of capacity and cost.
Figure 1: Key drivers for cloud computing initiatives
While agility is the prime motivating factor, the importance of cost as a factor should not be ignored. According to the survey, the major resource limitation experienced by respondents - for all infrastructure initiatives - is budget.
Figure 2: Resource limitations
Note that several of the reported constraints (personnel, storage capacity) are related to the broader issue of budget. In this sense, cost is overwhelmingly the most important constraint on IT initiatives - including cloud initiatives.
2013 Is for Planning, 2014 for Deployment
Of the organizations surveyed, nearly 50 percent plan to be deploying cloud initiatives in 2014. Many are in the planning phases. In general, we can expect cloud computing deployments to increase by 70 percent in 12 months:
Figure 3: Data center cloud initiatives, by year
Similarly, those surveyed expect to gradually migrate more workloads to cloud platforms in the coming years - with 28 percent planning to run more than half of their applications in the cloud by 2014. The barriers to cloud migration are lowering.
Figure 4: Percentage of applications planned to move to the cloud, by year
The Cloud Isn't a Homogeneous Place
Cloud computing can refer to several different deployment models. At a high level, cloud infrastructure alternatives are defined by how they are shared among different organizations.
Figure 5: Where respondents planned to deploy cloud initiatives
Private clouds offer the flexibility of the elastic infrastructure shared between different applications, but are never shared with other organizations. Hosted on dedicated equipment either on-premises or in a colocation provider, a private cloud is the most secure but the least cost-effective cloud model.
Public cloud infrastructure offers similar elasticity and scalability and is shared with many organizations. This model is best suited for businesses requiring managing load spikes and scaling to a large number of users without a large capital investment. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is perhaps the most widely deployed example of public cloud infrastructure as a service.
Hybrid cloud offers the dual advantages of secure applications and data hosting on a private cloud and the cost benefits of keeping sharable applications and data on the public cloud. This model is often used for cloud bursting - the migration of workloads between public and private hosting to handle load spikes.
Community cloud is an emerging category in which different organizations with similar needs use a shared cloud computing environment. This new model is taking hold in environments with common regulatory requirements, including healthcare, financial services and government.
The research showed that organizations are evaluating a broad range of different cloud solutions, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and Red Hat Cloud Computing, as well as many solutions based on OpenStack, the open source cloud computing software.
Without planning, ad hoc cloud deployments combined with islands of virtualization will only add complexity to the existing data center infrastructure. The resulting environment is one of physical, virtual and cloud silos with fragmented visibility. While individual tools may deliver insight into specific parts of the infrastructure puzzle (physical infrastructure, server virtualization with VMware, specific infrastructure in a specific cloud provider), IT organizations have little visibility into the total picture. This lack of visibility can impede the IT organization's ability to align infrastructure investments with business needs and cost constraints.
Infrastructure Complexity Is the New Normal
While it aims to bring agility to IT, the process of cloud transformation will only increase infrastructure complexity in the near term. IT organizations must manage a combination of legacy systems with islands of virtualization and cloud technologies.
When asked about where cloud infrastructure will reside, survey respondents indicated that they will be managing a blend of on-premises and outsourced infrastructure, with the balance shifting dramatically from 2013-2014.
Figure 6: Where cloud infrastructure will reside, by year
The Need for Unified Visibility into Complex Infrastructure
As you plan your own cloud initiatives, you must prepare for multiple phases of transformation:
- Deploying new applications to the cloud as part of the broader application portfolio
- Migrating existing applications to cloud infrastructure where possible and appropriate
- Managing the hybrid "infrastructure anywhere' environment during the transition and beyond
To support these phases, you need visibility into workloads and capacity across essential application infrastructure - no matter where it resides. From the physical and virtual resources, up through applications and services, you will need insight so you can align IT with business objectives.
Figure 7: The need for infrastructure insight at all levels
Essential Infrastructure Metrics for Right-Sizing Infrastructure
Decisions about which applications to deploy to the cloud and where to deploy them will require visibility into:
- Historical, current and predicted application workload
- Current and predicted capacity requirements of the workload
- Comparative cost of providing that capacity and infrastructure on different platforms
For application migration scenarios, you will need to understand the actual resource consumption of the existing application. Whether it's a new application or a migrated one, you will need to ‘right-size' the cloud infrastructure to avoid the twin dangers of over-provisioning (and wasting financial resources) or under-provisioning and risking outages or performance slow-downs. You will need insight into:
- Memory utilization
- CPU utilization
- Data transfer/bandwidth
- Storage requirements
You will also need good metrics about the cost of running the application in your existing data center, as well as the predicted costs of running that same application on various platforms. These metrics need to factor in the total cost of the application, such as:
- Personnel for supporting the application
- Operating system
- Management software
- Cooling and power
- Leased cloud
- Server and storage hardware
To accurately predict the cost of running the application on cloud-based infrastructure, you will need accurate metrics around the actual, historical resource consumption of the application (storage, memory, CPU, etc.) as it maps to billable units by the provider. By understanding the actual consumption, you can avoid over-provisioning and overpaying for resources from external providers.
Infrastructure Analytics for Cloud Migration
For any given application that is a candidate for the cloud, you want to be able to compare the total cost of the resources required across different options (public, private and on-premise).
While you could try to manually crunch these numbers in a spreadsheet, the computations are not trivial. These are decisions that you will need to make repeatedly, for each application, and revisit when an infrastructure provider changes its cost model or fee structure. For that reason you'll want a tool that lets you get an accurate and continuous view into current costs and model "what-if" scenarios for different deployments.
Continuous Analysis for Continuous Improvement of the "Infrastructure Anywhere" Environment
Before deploying an application, what-if scenarios help you make sound resource decisions and right-size applications. After deploying, continuous analysis is key to ensuring that you are optimizing capacity and using resources most efficiently.
While individual tools may already give you slices of the necessary information, you need integrated insight into the complete infrastructure environment. Again, emerging infrastructure intelligence can assemble necessary information from applications and assets that are both on and off your premises, virtualized and not, in different platforms and locations.
Figure 8: Transformational analytics
The software can provide 'single pane of glass' visibility into assets and applications throughout the physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure, including:
- Application cost/utilization spanning different locations
- True resource requirements of apps (for more accurate provisioning in cloud infrastructure)
- CPU and memory utilization of apps, wherever they reside
By 2014, enterprise computing will look quite different than it does today, yet many legacy systems and infrastructure will still be with us. IT operations, business units and application architects will need to manage applications that reside in infrastructure that spans on-premise and offsite locations, with public, private, hybrid, and community cloud infrastructure. Data centers will be just one part of the total pool of infrastructure that IT manages on behalf of the business.
To manage this transformation, you will need to make smart decisions about where workloads should reside based on specific application and business needs. As these changes roll out, you will need to manage the transforming and hybrid application infrastructure to deliver the necessary performance and service levels, no matter where applications reside.
IT organizations need the insight to make fast, smart and informed decisions about where workloads and data should reside and how to deploy new applications. Rather than isolated silos of metrics and capacity and utilization data, IT needs unified visibility into infrastructure across the virtual computing environment - both on-premise and off. And they need the metrics and continuous analysis to manage the evolving infrastructure in a manner aligned with business objectives.
An emerging category of infrastructure intelligence can provide the continuous and unified analytics necessary to understand and compare your decisions and to manage the data center during the transformation. With broad 'infrastructure insight' you can align cloud platforms with business needs and cost requirements - delivering the agility to realize new revenue opportunities with the insight to contain the costs of existing applications.
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 2, 2015 05:45 PM EDT Reads: 520
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducted a live demonstration of how quickly application development can happen when the need to comply wit...
Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 361
The Internet of Everything (IoE) brings together people, process, data and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before – transforming information into knowledge and knowledge into wisdom. IoE creates new capabilities, richer experiences, and unprecedented opportunities to improve business and government operations, decision making and mission support capabilities.
Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 342
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems, described how to revolutionize your archit...
Jul. 30, 2015 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,425
MuleSoft has announced the findings of its 2015 Connectivity Benchmark Report on the adoption and business impact of APIs. The findings suggest traditional businesses are quickly evolving into "composable enterprises" built out of hundreds of connected software services, applications and devices. Most are embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) and microservices technologies like Docker. A majority are integrating wearables, like smart watches, and more than half plan to generate revenue with APIs within the next year.
Jul. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 147
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Opening Keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, d...
Jul. 30, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,086
In his keynote at 16th Cloud Expo, Rodney Rogers, CEO of Virtustream, discussed the evolution of the company from inception to its recent acquisition by EMC – including personal insights, lessons learned (and some WTF moments) along the way. Learn how Virtustream’s unique approach of combining the economics and elasticity of the consumer cloud model with proper performance, application automation and security into a platform became a breakout success with enterprise customers and a natural fit for the EMC Federation.
Jul. 30, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,175
The Internet of Things is not only adding billions of sensors and billions of terabytes to the Internet. It is also forcing a fundamental change in the way we envision Information Technology. For the first time, more data is being created by devices at the edge of the Internet rather than from centralized systems. What does this mean for today's IT professional? In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed this very serious issue of profound change in the industry.
Jul. 29, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,300
Discussions about cloud computing are evolving into discussions about enterprise IT in general. As enterprises increasingly migrate toward their own unique clouds, new issues such as the use of containers and microservices emerge to keep things interesting. In this Power Panel at 16th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the state of cloud computing today, and what enterprise IT professionals need to know about how the latest topics and trends affect their organization.
Jul. 29, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,207
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society-changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jason Mondanaro, Director, Product Management at Metanga, discussed how you can plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change the world and it starts with business models and monetization strategies.
Jul. 28, 2015 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,776
Converging digital disruptions is creating a major sea change - Cisco calls this the Internet of Everything (IoE). IoE is the network connection of People, Process, Data and Things, fueled by Cloud, Mobile, Social, Analytics and Security, and it represents a $19Trillion value-at-stake over the next 10 years. In her keynote at @ThingsExpo, Manjula Talreja, VP of Cisco Consulting Services, discussed IoE and the enormous opportunities it provides to public and private firms alike. She will share what businesses must do to thrive in the IoE economy, citing examples from several industry sectors.
Jul. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,051
There will be 150 billion connected devices by 2020. New digital businesses have already disrupted value chains across every industry. APIs are at the center of the digital business. You need to understand what assets you have that can be exposed digitally, what their digital value chain is, and how to create an effective business model around that value chain to compete in this economy. No enterprise can be complacent and not engage in the digital economy. Learn how to be the disruptor and not the disruptee.
Jul. 27, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,047
Akana has released Envision, an enhanced API analytics platform that helps enterprises mine critical insights across their digital eco-systems, understand their customers and partners and offer value-added personalized services. “In today’s digital economy, data-driven insights are proving to be a key differentiator for businesses. Understanding the data that is being tunneled through their APIs and how it can be used to optimize their business and operations is of paramount importance,” said Alistair Farquharson, CTO of Akana.
Jul. 27, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 336
Business as usual for IT is evolving into a "Make or Buy" decision on a service-by-service conversation with input from the LOBs. How does your organization move forward with cloud? In his general session at 16th Cloud Expo, Paul Maravei, Regional Sales Manager, Hybrid Cloud and Managed Services at Cisco, discusses how Cisco and its partners offer a market-leading portfolio and ecosystem of cloud infrastructure and application services that allow you to uniquely and securely combine cloud business applications and services across multiple cloud delivery models.
Jul. 27, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,914
The enterprise market will drive IoT device adoption over the next five years. In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Greenough, an analyst at BI Intelligence, division of Business Insider, analyzed how companies will adopt IoT products and the associated cost of adopting those products. John Greenough is the lead analyst covering the Internet of Things for BI Intelligence- Business Insider’s paid research service. Numerous IoT companies have cited his analysis of the IoT. Prior to joining BI Intelligence, he worked analyzing bank technology for Corporate Insight and The Clearing House Payment...
Jul. 26, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,591
"Optimal Design is a technology integration and product development firm that specializes in connecting devices to the cloud," stated Joe Wascow, Co-Founder & CMO of Optimal Design, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 405
SYS-CON Events announced today that CommVault has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A singular vision – a belief in a better way to address current and future data management needs – guides CommVault in the development of Singular Information Management® solutions for high-performance data protection, universal availability and simplified management of data on complex storage networks. CommVault's exclusive single-platform architecture gives companies unp...
Jul. 25, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,976
Electric Cloud and Arynga have announced a product integration partnership that will bring Continuous Delivery solutions to the automotive Internet-of-Things (IoT) market. The joint solution will help automotive manufacturers, OEMs and system integrators adopt DevOps automation and Continuous Delivery practices that reduce software build and release cycle times within the complex and specific parameters of embedded and IoT software systems.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 488
"ciqada is a combined platform of hardware modules and server products that lets people take their existing devices or new devices and lets them be accessible over the Internet for their users," noted Geoff Engelstein of ciqada, a division of Mars International, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City.
Jul. 25, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,559
Internet of Things is moving from being a hype to a reality. Experts estimate that internet connected cars will grow to 152 million, while over 100 million internet connected wireless light bulbs and lamps will be operational by 2020. These and many other intriguing statistics highlight the importance of Internet powered devices and how market penetration is going to multiply many times over in the next few years.
Jul. 25, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,505