|By Pete Schmitt||
|January 12, 2013 11:00 AM EST||
It's no secret that the cloud is growing at an exponential rate. By 2016, two-thirds of the world's server workloads will exist in the cloud. But according to Cisco's 2012 Cloud Index, less than half of server workloads currently run in the cloud. Closing the gap between current capabilities and future requirements is a mission-critical priority for businesses across a range of industries. Without adequate planning and preparation, the race to the cloud can easily become a long slog through a minefield of missed opportunities, user failures and IT nightmares. As more and more workloads make their way to the cloud each year, enterprises have a vested interest in expanding network capabilities and evolving critical data center infrastructure to accommodate an ever-increasing array of cloud-based applications and data storage requirements.
Key Trends in Cloud Technology
Several trends are driving the migration of applications and data to the cloud.
- Agility. Cloud deployment enables businesses to improve performance and functionality quickly, launching new applications without a corresponding need for additional infrastructure. Agility is especially important in new and young companies, many of which lack the time and resources to deploy a range of diverse applications internally.
- Consumerization of IT. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is enabling companies to expand the use of technology through the use of employee-owned devices. The cloud is playing an important role in helping organizations keep up with the pace of BYOD and deliver anytime, anywhere access to workers.
- Cost Drivers. Financial metrics are also a motivating factor in the race to the cloud. In general, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is cheaper, faster and easier than traditional deployment models - reducing the cost of infrastructure, physical space and IT labor.
Preparing for the Cloud
Successful preparation for future cloud workloads requires planning. By strategically adapting your network capacity, data center and other critical IT functions, you can substantially improve your organization's ability to operate in the cloud.
Today's networks must be capable of handling constant interactions characterized by rich media and heavy content, particularly as users migrate away from email toward interactions via social media and other channels. Consequently, networks and data centers must expand to support instant access to many different types of content beyond email. The first step of network expansion is a comprehensive assessment of your organization's app portfolio. In most cases, executive decision-makers are unaware of the scope of applications that are running in the organization. Once all of the applications that are currently running in your organization have been identified, they need to be ranked and categorized according to future requirements. While some applications may need to remain in-house, others can be migrated to a public cloud or secure public cloud environment. From there, the organization can begin to evaluate how to expand the network to manage future workloads.
As virtualization becomes more prevalent in data centers and companies adopt a cloud-based strategy, network architects need to rethink and redesign their current infrastructure to adapt to the new traffic patterns. What once used to be primarily "North-South" network traffic flow is now becoming "East-West." Environments are becoming highly dynamic; workloads are moving to different physical locations on the network as virtual servers are migrated and clients move about the building. The architectures and networking techniques of yesterday are not necessarily well suited to the architectures and applications of today and tomorrow. A thorough understanding of networking and the infrastructure that is its foundation as well its relationship to applications is necessary when architecting a data center network that is capable of not just supporting but adapting to future challenges that arise as a result of virtualization and cloud computing. The solution must address all aspects of application delivery - security, availability, performance, and visibility - while exhibiting the qualities and characteristics that define cloud architectures including affordability and elastic scalability. The data must be protected against attacks, intrusions, breaches, and leaks and categorized based on its importance and network resource needs with Quality-of-Service (QoS) capabilities.
Storage and Backup is another key to preparing for cloud migration. Security is a top-of-mind issue in the cloud. Although cloud deployments offer real benefits, your organization needs to know that sensitive data will remain secure. The process for preparing for cloud-based data storage and backup mirrors the process for evaluating network expansion requirements. Starting with an assessment of current data sources and storage routines, the organization needs to evaluate what types of data can eventually either integrate with or be completely migrated to the cloud. Equipped with this information, the organization can begin to identify the technology gaps that need to be addressed to meet future cloud storage and backup requirements.
Purpose-built appliances provide fast backup and restore, and deliver local-like performance while using the cloud for secure off-site storage, avoiding the need to provision and manage a secondary site for Disaster Recovery (DR) or long-term storage. This can dramatically reduce capital spending, streamline IT infrastructure, and enable payback periods that are measured in months, not years. Appliances can be combined with existing data protection applications and private or public clouds, creating a low cost, highly scalable storage tier for old or infrequently accessed data. Appliances also allow organizations of all sizes to modernize their data protection architecture, eliminate tape, improve scalability, and improve Disaster Recovery readiness. Cloud storage allow organizations to leverage a pay-for-use pricing model and anywhere availability.
Increased virtualization will alleviate some of the cloud migration challenges upfront. Cloud technology enables organizations to move servers to the cloud and back in an integrated and strategic manner. In fact, the use of virtualization can also play an important role in preparing the organization's culture and stakeholders for future cloud deployments. By increasing the use of virtualization now, you can encourage greater acceptance of the cloud across your enterprise. In essence, virtualization can serve as a bridge to the cloud.
It is the key technology that enables the cloud, and without it there is no cloud. The ability to separate the OS and application from the hardware allows it to be the foundation required for on-demand cloud services. The encapsulation offered in virtualization and the mobility that enables a live virtual machine to be moved with no downtime for the application is what the cloud is built on. If you look at virtualization / cloud computing as a whole, it really is not about a product, but a journey. Companies initially enter the world of virtualization because they just can't keep up with the increased scale, complexity, and management requirements while maintaining their current traditional infrastructure. This leads them to the first step in the virtualization journey, which is to consolidate their resources/infrastructure to get better utilization of their servers and to reduce their energy cost. Higher levels of abstraction allow companies to take advantage of the intelligence built into the virtualization software. Intelligent software that allows High Availability (HA) and Replication, load balancing, pooled resources, self-automation/orchestration, service definitions or service profiles, templates, policies, self-service portal, service catalog(s), security and identity management, system monitoring/system management, capacity planning, billing and chargeback, and licensing.
It's important to understand that the ability to handle future cloud-based workloads will present different challenges and concerns for the stakeholders in your organization; users are motivated by ease-of-use and increased access to applications and data, CIOs are focused on control, ownership and data and application security and CFOs are primarily concerned about the cost savings, rate of return and opex versus capex, etc. By thoughtfully and strategically preparing for future cloud opportunities, your organization can address these concerns and fully leverage the benefits of cloud technology across the enterprise.
If you are new to Python, you might be confused about the different versions that are available. Although Python 3 is the latest generation of the language, many programmers still use Python 2.7, the final update to Python 2, which was released in 2010. There is currently no clear-cut answer to the question of which version of Python you should use; the decision depends on what you want to achieve. While Python 3 is clearly the future of the language, some programmers choose to remain with Py...
Oct. 7, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 196
Opinions on how best to package and deliver applications are legion and, like many other aspects of the software world, are subject to recurring trend cycles. On the server-side, the current favorite is container delivery: a “full stack” approach in which your application and everything it needs to run are specified in a container definition. That definition is then “compiled” down to a container image and deployed by retrieving the image and passing it to a container runtime to create a running...
Oct. 7, 2015 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 157
Somebody call the buzzword police: we have a serious case of microservices-washing in progress. The term “microservices-washing” is derived from “whitewashing,” meaning to hide some inconvenient truth with bluster and nonsense. We saw plenty of cloudwashing a few years ago, as vendors and enterprises alike pretended what they were doing was cloud, even though it wasn’t. Today, the hype around microservices has led to the same kind of obfuscation, as vendors and enterprise technologists alike ar...
Oct. 7, 2015 12:00 AM EDT Reads: 389
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
Oct. 6, 2015 11:15 PM EDT Reads: 358
“All our customers are looking at the cloud ecosystem as an important part of their overall product strategy. Some see it evolve as a multi-cloud / hybrid cloud strategy, while others are embracing all forms of cloud offerings like PaaS, IaaS and SaaS in their solutions,” noted Suhas Joshi, Vice President – Technology, at Harbinger Group, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff.
Oct. 6, 2015 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 370
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud wit...
Oct. 6, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 586
As the world moves towards more DevOps and microservices, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, NetFlix and so on, is at the heart of Cloud Foundry - a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS) that is IaaS agnostic and supports vCloud, OpenStack and AWS. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Raghavan "Rags" Srinivas, an Architect/Developer Evangeli...
Oct. 6, 2015 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 118
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Oct. 6, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 851
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, ...
Oct. 6, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 453
Despite all the talk about public cloud services and DevOps, you would think the move to cloud for enterprises is clear and simple. But in a survey of almost 1,600 IT decision makers across the USA and Europe, the state of the cloud in enterprise today is still fraught with considerable frustration. The business case for apps in the real world cloud is hybrid, bimodal, multi-platform, and difficult. Download this report commissioned by NTT Communications to see the insightful findings – registra...
Oct. 6, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 215
Application availability is not just the measure of “being up”. Many apps can claim that status. Technically they are running and responding to requests, but at a rate which users would certainly interpret as being down. That’s because excessive load times can (and will be) interpreted as “not available.” That’s why it’s important to view ensuring application availability as requiring attention to all its composite parts: scalability, performance, and security.
Oct. 6, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 353
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.
Oct. 6, 2015 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 571
There once was a time when testers operated on their own, in isolation. They’d huddle as a group around the harsh glow of dozens of CRT monitors, clicking through GUIs and recording results. Anxiously, they’d wait for the developers in the other room to fix the bugs they found, yet they’d frequently leave the office disappointed as issues were filed away as non-critical. These teams would rarely interact, save for those scarce moments when a coder would wander in needing to reproduce a particula...
Oct. 6, 2015 08:45 AM EDT Reads: 261
What Is Emergent About Emergent Architecture? By @TheEbizWizard | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #BigData #API
All we need to do is have our teams self-organize, and behold! Emergent design and/or architecture springs up out of the nothingness! If only it were that easy, right? I follow in the footsteps of so many people who have long wondered at the meanings of such simple words, as though they were dogma from on high. Emerge? Self-organizing? Profound, to be sure. But what do we really make of this sentence?
Oct. 6, 2015 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 379
As we increasingly rely on technology to improve the quality and efficiency of our personal and professional lives, software has become the key business differentiator. Organizations must release software faster, as well as ensure the safety, security, and reliability of their applications. The option to make trade-offs between time and quality no longer exists—software teams must deliver quality and speed. To meet these expectations, businesses have shifted from more traditional approaches of d...
Oct. 6, 2015 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 155
Information overload has infiltrated our lives. From the amount of news available and at our fingertips 24/7, to the endless choices we have when making a simple purchase, to the quantity of emails we receive on a given day, it’s increasingly difficult to sift out the details that really matter. When you envision your cloud monitoring system, the same thinking applies. We receive a lot of useless data that gets fed into the system, and the reality is no one in IT or DevOps has the time to manu...
Oct. 6, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 498
Last month, my partners in crime – Carmen DeArdo from Nationwide, Lee Reid, my colleague from IBM and I wrote a 3-part series of blog posts on DevOps.com. We titled our posts the Simple Math, Calculus and Art of DevOps. I would venture to say these are must-reads for any organization adopting DevOps. We examined all three ascpects – the Cultural, Automation and Process improvement side of DevOps. One of the key underlying themes of the three posts was the need for Cultural change – things like t...
Oct. 6, 2015 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 276
It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce that Jesse Proudman, Blue Box CTO, has been appointed to the position of IBM Distinguished Engineer. Jesse is the first employee at Blue Box to receive this honor, and I’m quite confident there will be more to follow given the amazing talent at Blue Box with whom I have had the pleasure to collaborate. I’d like to provide an overview of what it means to become an IBM Distinguished Engineer.
Oct. 6, 2015 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 141
I’ve been thinking a bit about microservices (μServices) recently. My immediate reaction is to think: “Isn’t this just yet another new term for the same stuff, Web Services->SOA->APIs->Microservices?” Followed shortly by the thought, “well yes it is, but there are some important differences/distinguishing factors.” Microservices is an evolutionary paradigm born out of the need for simplicity (i.e., get away from the ESB) and alignment with agile (think DevOps) and scalable (think Containerizati...
Oct. 6, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,460
The cloud has reached mainstream IT. Those 18.7 million data centers out there (server closets to corporate data centers to colocation deployments) are moving to the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Achim Weiss, CEO & co-founder of ProfitBricks, will share how two companies – one in the U.S. and one in Germany – are achieving their goals with cloud infrastructure. More than a case study, he will share the details of how they prioritized their cloud computing infrastructure deployments ...
Oct. 6, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 681