|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?
With emerging ideas, innovation, and talents, the lines between DevOps, release engineering, and even security are rapidly blurring. I invite you to sit down for a moment with Principle Consultant, J. Paul Reed, and listen to his take on what the intersection between these once individualized fields entails, and may even foreshadow.
Sep. 29, 2016 09:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,242
In case you haven’t heard, the new hotness in app architectures is serverless. Mainly restricted to cloud environments (Amazon Lambda, Google Cloud Functions, Microsoft Azure Functions) the general concept is that you don’t have to worry about anything but the small snippets of code (functions) you write to do something when something happens. That’s an event-driven model, by the way, that should be very familiar to anyone who has taken advantage of a programmable proxy to do app or API routing ...
Sep. 29, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 478
Much of the value of DevOps comes from a (renewed) focus on measurement, sharing, and continuous feedback loops. In increasingly complex DevOps workflows and environments, and especially in larger, regulated, or more crystallized organizations, these core concepts become even more critical. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Andi Mann, Chief Technology Advocate at Splunk, showed how, by focusing on 'metrics that matter,' you can provide objective, transparent, and meaningful f...
Sep. 29, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,791
With the rise of Docker, Kubernetes, and other container technologies, the growth of microservices has skyrocketed among dev teams looking to innovate on a faster release cycle. This has enabled teams to finally realize their DevOps goals to ship and iterate quickly in a continuous delivery model. Why containers are growing in popularity is no surprise — they’re extremely easy to spin up or down, but come with an unforeseen issue. However, without the right foresight, DevOps and IT teams may lo...
Sep. 29, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,159
Cloud Expo 2016 New York at the Javits Center New York was characterized by increased attendance and a new focus on operations. These were both encouraging signs for all involved in Cloud Computing and all that it touches. As Conference Chair, I work with the Cloud Expo team to structure three keynotes, numerous general sessions, and more than 150 breakout sessions along 10 tracks. Our job is to balance the state of enterprise IT today with the trends that will be commonplace tomorrow. Mobile...
Sep. 29, 2016 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 4,164
To leverage Continuous Delivery, enterprises must consider impacts that span functional silos, as well as applications that touch older, slower moving components. Managing the many dependencies can cause slowdowns. See how to achieve continuous delivery in the enterprise.
Sep. 29, 2016 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,137
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is...
Sep. 29, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,709
Digitization is driving a fundamental change in society that is transforming the way businesses work with their customers, their supply chains and their people. Digital transformation leverages DevOps best practices, such as Agile Parallel Development, Continuous Delivery and Agile Operations to capitalize on opportunities and create competitive differentiation in the application economy. However, information security has been notably absent from the DevOps movement. Speed doesn’t have to negat...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,283
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,414
Large enterprises today are juggling an enormous variety of network equipment. Business users are asking for specific network throughput guarantees when it comes to their critical applications, legal departments require compliance with mandated regulatory frameworks, and operations are asked to do more with shrinking budgets. All these requirements do not easily align with existing network architectures; hence, network operators are continuously faced with a slew of granular parameter change req...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 804
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Sep. 29, 2016 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,488
Your business relies on your applications and your employees to stay in business. Whether you develop apps or manage business critical apps that help fuel your business, what happens when users experience sluggish performance? You and all technical teams across the organization – application, network, operations, among others, as well as, those outside the organization, like ISPs and third-party providers – are called in to solve the problem.
Sep. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,683
SYS-CON Events announced today the Kubernetes and Google Container Engine Workshop, being held November 3, 2016, in conjunction with @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele introduces participants to Kubernetes and Google Container Engine (GKE). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, students learn the key concepts and practices for deploying and maintainin...
Sep. 29, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,761
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Sep. 29, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 2,963
Apache Hadoop is a key technology for gaining business insights from your Big Data, but the penetration into enterprises is shockingly low. In fact, Apache Hadoop and Big Data proponents recognize that this technology has not yet achieved its game-changing business potential. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, John Mertic, director of program management for ODPi at The Linux Foundation, will explain why this is, how we can work together as an open data community to increase adoption, and the i...
Sep. 29, 2016 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,150
While DevOps promises a better and tighter integration among an organization’s development and operation teams and transforms an application life cycle into a continual deployment, Chef and Azure together provides a speedy, cost-effective and highly scalable vehicle for realizing the business values of this transformation. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, a Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, will present a unique opportunity to witness how Chef and Azure work tog...
Sep. 29, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,802
As applications are promoted from the development environment to the CI or the QA environment and then into the production environment, it is very common for the configuration settings to be changed as the code is promoted. For example, the settings for the database connection pools are typically lower in development environment than the QA/Load Testing environment. The primary reason for the existence of the configuration setting differences is to enhance application performance. However, occas...
Sep. 29, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 890
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
Sep. 29, 2016 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 4,691
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
Sep. 29, 2016 02:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,721
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
Sep. 29, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,058