|By Christopher Aedo||
|December 7, 2012 11:00 AM EST||
Enterprises are quickly realizing that their future success is dependent on their ability to adapt their business to the Cloud. That realization however comes with more questions and concerns about executing an effective cloud-based strategy. The explosion of the OpenStack community has made it possible for hosting providers and businesses to create or utilize Amazon-like public and private clouds, but it's clear that the Cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution. One prime factor that dictates the success of a cloud computing strategy is the particular workload an enterprise is tackling. From DevOps, to rapidly deploying dynamic and scalable websites, enterprises' workload needs should dictate their cloud architecture.
The specific workloads have an impact on many elements of the cloud, particularly the architecture of the infrastructure. It becomes clear how integral infrastructure architecture is to meeting workload requirements as we examine specific workload use cases.
The first element to consider in the architecture of cloud infrastructure is computing power. The number and speed of compute nodes within a cloud configuration will dictate how quickly processes can be executed. This comes into play prominently when assessing a workload, as the computing power required to develop a web app pales in comparison to the compute power required to execute Big Data analysis. Large-scale data analysis projects require powerful compute capabilities. While this kind of project is completely within the purview of well-constructed cloud architectures, that architecture must be designed as such.
The next integral ingredient to a cloud's architecture is the storage architecture. There are several different types of storage that vary in availability, resiliency and transactional performance. Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) provides a multi-tenant object storage environment, while block storage, like Amazon EBS, provides a persistent storage target. Typically an enterprise architecture would require a multi-level SAN architecture that provided enough IOPS (input/outputs) for the storage of the VMs as well as the transactional block storage. As flash storage has matured, it has become possible to collapse the typical storage architecture, running virtual machine operating systems and persistent transactional data on the same tier.
Another variable that's worth pointing out is that of data access speeds. While one might have a large element of storage space, the ability to quickly access the data stored within is a factor in developing infrastructure for particular workloads.
The last vector for consideration is that of density. In many datacenters, space is readily available. However, that may not always be the case. Compact and energy-efficient datacenter hardware systems take up less space in a datacenter, thereby saving space and presumably cost. However, dense hardware tends to be more expensive - making the proposition contingent upon cost per square foot versus the cost of denser hardware. One must also consider the power density per square foot as this varies widely depending on the data center. This kind of determination must be made based on ad hoc criteria and circumstances. Less dense solutions tend to also be less power-efficient, bringing an additional cost point of analysis into the picture.
DevOps is a term that has gained quite a bit of notoriety in recent years, as enterprises acknowledge the interdependence of IT operations and software development teams. DevOps aficionados are looking to cloud technology as a means to more closely align the two groups' respective goals, which tend to be fundamentally at odds.
The DevOps operation means creating a cloud environment that allows developers to quickly self-service launch the necessary build and test virtual machines required to create the artifacts used in a continuous delivery pipeline. This kind of pipeline requires that the main code base (often referred to as the trunk or mainline) be constantly in the "green" state and execute with no fatal errors. One of the fundamental keys to creating that pipeline is rapidly rebuilding and unit testing any changed code. Some development shops rebuild on every code check-in by every developer, while others take a less extreme approach and build every ten minutes or on the hour.
The success that can be achieved by a continuous build environment is largely dependent on a fast, well-orchestrated infrastructure. In this use-case, an IT manager will seek out a cloud architecture that launches and kills virtual machines (VMs) quickly, and includes highly accessible storage. Depending on the specifics, this could result in a cloud that combines a large amount of IOPS to quickly launch the VMs and perform the workload.
Deploying Dynamic and Scalable Websites
There's arguably no greater beneficiary of cloud computing than a company that repeatedly launches similar websites. Let's take a media company as an example that delivers entertainment content across its platform. Critical to this company's success is delivering existing and new content through rapidly changing websites. Powering this are innovative applications that provide interactive experiences that engage and create a loyal user base. For this particular type of workload, developers require automated provisioning and flexible storage and compute options, as different launches require different demands, such as a UGC contest demanding greater storage and an MMORPG video game that requires a compute-intensive environment.
These requirements often vary in their scope but are consistent in their frequency, so it is vital to eliminate the need for repetitive, time-consuming tasks such as installing and configuring commonly used website software like databases and web servers. Well-made templates can be re-used and when consistency is maintained automatically, system administrators can focus on higher-value tasks rather than performing repairs. Where other workloads may have a narrow scope, elasticity and flexibility within compute, storage and data access elements is required to effectively and efficiently deploy dynamic and scalable websites.
Approaching High Performance Computing Animation
One interesting HPC application of cloud technologies is that of animation rendering. Over the years the animation industry has used various computer hardware and software technologies to automate the steps in the production process. Because many of these steps require high-performance computing systems with significant CPU and IOPs capabilities, animation shops have often relied on purpose-built hardware and software systems for their peak capacity. With the advent of server virtualization, high-speed solid state drives (SSDs) and standards-based cloud platforms, animators are taking a closer look at the benefits of cloud technology. In order for these workloads to be efficient and effective in the cloud, high power computing must be coupled with high IOPs, as virtual machines must be launched and deprovisioned as short lived but CPU-intensive tasks.
Designing an infrastructure around a particular workload is a process that requires comprehensive understanding of the basic functions of the workload in question, and while optimizing an infrastructure for a particular workload can present some front-end hurdles, the efficiency and potential cost savings in the long run are significant, as managers can focus resources on a particularly impactful element of their architecture.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Apr. 27, 2017 09:15 PM EDT Reads: 7,289
In large enterprises, environment provisioning and server provisioning account for a significant portion of the operations team's time. This often leaves users frustrated while they wait for these services. For instance, server provisioning can take several days and sometimes even weeks. At the same time, digital transformation means the need for server and environment provisioning is constantly growing. Organizations are adopting agile methodologies and software teams are increasing the speed ...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,404
Is your application too difficult to manage? Do changes take dozens of developers hundreds of hours to execute, and frequently result in downtime across all your site’s functions? It sounds like you have a monolith! A monolith is one of the three main software architectures that define most applications. Whether you’ve intentionally set out to create a monolith or not, it’s worth at least weighing the pros and cons of the different architectural approaches and deciding which one makes the most s...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,832
When you decide to launch a startup company, business advisors, counselors, bankers and armchair know-it-alls will tell you that the first thing you need to do is get funding. While there is some validity to that boilerplate piece of wisdom, the availability of and need for startup funding has gone through a dramatic transformation over the past decade, and the next few years will see even more of a shift. A perfect storm of events is causing this seismic shift. On the macroeconomic side this ...
Apr. 27, 2017 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 379
Developers want to create better apps faster. Static clouds are giving way to scalable systems, with dynamic resource allocation and application monitoring. You won't hear that chant from users on any picket line, but helping developers to create better apps faster is the mission of Lee Atchison, principal cloud architect and advocate at New Relic Inc., based in San Francisco. His singular job is to understand and drive the industry in the areas of cloud architecture, microservices, scalability ...
Apr. 27, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,584
A Man in the Middle attack, or MITM, is a situation wherein a malicious entity can read/write data that is being transmitted between two or more systems (in most cases, between you and the website that you are surfing). MITMs are common in China, thanks to the “Great Cannon.” The “Great Cannon” is slightly different from the “The Great Firewall.” The firewall monitors web traffic moving in and out of China and blocks prohibited content. The Great Cannon, on the other hand, acts as a man in the...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 261
This recent research on cloud computing from the Register delves a little deeper than many of the "We're all adopting cloud!" surveys we've seen. They found that meaningful cloud adoption and the idea of the cloud-first enterprise are still not reality for many businesses. The Register's stats also show a more gradual cloud deployment trend over the past five years, not any sort of explosion. One important takeaway is that coherence across internal and external clouds is essential for IT right n...
Apr. 27, 2017 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,756
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing be...
Apr. 27, 2017 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 707
Back in February of 2017, Andrew Clay Schafer of Pivotal tweeted the following: “seriously tho, the whole software industry is stuck on deployment when we desperately need architecture and telemetry.” Intrigue in a 140 characters. For me, I hear Andrew saying, “we’re jumping to step 5 before we’ve successfully completed steps 1-4.”
Apr. 27, 2017 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,852
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Apr. 27, 2017 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,356
To more closely examine the variety of ways in which IT departments around the world are integrating cloud services, and the effect hybrid IT has had on their organizations and IT job roles, SolarWinds recently released the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organization. This annual study consists of survey-based research that explores significant trends, developments, and movements related to and directly affecting IT and IT professionals.
Apr. 27, 2017 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,741
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Apr. 27, 2017 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 6,087
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...
Apr. 27, 2017 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 9,241
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies, has been named co-conference chair of DevOps at Cloud Expo 2017. The @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo Silicon Valley will take place Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Apr. 26, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,635
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, CTO of Embotics, will discuss how automation can provide the dynamic management required to cost-effectively deliver microservices and container solutions at scale. He will discuss how flexible automation is the key to effectively bridging and seamlessly coordinating both IT and developer needs for component orchestration across disparate clouds – an increasingly important requirement at today’s multi-cloud enterprise.
Apr. 25, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,352
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Apr. 25, 2017 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 8,939
Software as a service (SaaS), one of the earliest and most successful cloud services, has reached mainstream status. According to Cisco, by 2019 more than four-fifths (83 percent) of all data center traffic will be based in the cloud, up from 65 percent today. The majority of this traffic will be applications. Businesses of all sizes are adopting a variety of SaaS-based services – everything from collaboration tools to mission-critical commerce-oriented applications. The rise in SaaS usage has m...
Apr. 22, 2017 06:15 PM EDT Reads: 4,905
The proper isolation of resources is essential for multi-tenant environments. The traditional approach to isolate resources is, however, rather heavyweight. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Igor Drobiazko, co-founder of elastic.io, drew upon his own experience with operating a Docker container-based infrastructure on a large scale and present a lightweight solution for resource isolation using microservices. He also discussed the implementation of microservices in data and application integrat...
Apr. 22, 2017 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 6,286
We'd all like to fulfill that "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" cliché. But in reality, every job (even if it's our dream job) comes with its downsides. For you, the constant fight against shadow IT might get on your last nerves. For your developer coworkers, infrastructure management is the roadblock that stands in the way of focusing on coding. As you watch more and more applications and processes move to the cloud, technology is coming to developers' rescue-most r...
Apr. 22, 2017 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,145
2016 has been an amazing year for Docker and the container industry. We had 3 major releases of Docker engine this year , and tremendous increase in usage. The community has been following along and contributing amazing Docker resources to help you learn and get hands-on experience. Here’s some of the top read and viewed content for the year. Of course releases are always really popular, particularly when they fit requests we had from the community.
Apr. 22, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 3,643