Cloud computing infrastructure: an ‘air’ of uncertainty?

I actually wanted to title this blog as - Do virtual appliances need extra infrastructural provisioning? But I kind of figured that sounded too granular to be interesting.

I actually wanted to title this blog as - Do virtual appliances need extra infrastructural provisioning? But I kind of figured that sounded too granular to be interesting. The truth is, there’s a lot of industry ‘hoo-ha’ out there right now talking about the underpinning, infrastructural planning and foundational support technologies that we will need to make cloud computing effective.

Why is this then? Perhaps it’s because we now know that much more of the ‘what’ and ‘when’ of cloud computing, meaning that we can now concentrate more on the ‘how’ and ‘where’. As for the who? Let’s hope that’s all of us.

So what substance do I have to make these comments?

Well firstly, there are these comments made by Lori MacVittie of F5 right here on ZDNetUK, “…most applications being deployed in the cloud today rely on virtualisation, yet organisations are not entirely sure that all applications should be virtualised.” MacVittie also points out that less than 40 percent of all servers in datacentres today are provisioned for virtualisation.

The point I am making here is that there is a lot of uncertainty in the air when it comes to the cloud – if you will pardon the unintentional pun – so with that in mind, how do we decide how deep we need to lay our foundations.

Perhaps we are still in the ‘proving ground’ where we need the freedom to combine physical & virtual appliances in an integrated application architecture. If so, I would like to argue that the key success factors will be retaining efficiency, scalability and reliability. To do this, we will need tools to build dynamism into the foundation layer – and the acronym du jour here will most likely be (ADN) for Application Delivery Networking.

I will have to go back to F5 to mention the company’s nattily named BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Virtual Edition (VE). Available now on free trial, this product is designed to give developers and architects a new tool for modelling ADC deployments and testing for different configurations.

The key with these things of course is making sure that test results will match live operation of a physical appliance in the production network. But F5 has a free BIG-IP LTM ‘Essentials Training Class’ web-based training course to make sure developers get the most out of creating and testing application delivery solutions developed using the company’s own programming language, iRules.

Conveniently, VP and awfully distinguished analyst at Gartner Mark Fabbi happens to have gone on the record on this topic saying that, “While application architects and developers don’t necessarily care about the final implementation of ADC services, they require a flexible infrastructure that can easily be integrated into the application development and deployment process and can adapt quickly to business operations and opportunities.”

Is there uncertainty in the cloud? Well yes there has to be. Are corporates happy to shunt all their IT requirements to a virtualised world straight away? Clearly not. Do we need more tools to help manage the flexible foundation, test and delivery layers of the apps and virtual appliances that must migrate to the cloud? Seems like a reasonable idea to me.


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