STACKING UP OPEN CLOUDS | A ZDNet Multiplexer Blog What's this?

Driving an evolved cloud strategy

​There is a braver conversation happening with enterprises today on their cloud strategy, according to Intel.

The industry is having open dialogues about public cloud, and the reluctance of enterprises to transition and flick the public cloud switch.

However, Intel has made enormous investments and developments in the OpenStack framework, because it said it understands that there is a fundamental change occurring in datacentre architecture, driven by a 24/7 global business need.

Intel's OpenStack effort aligns closely with its software-defined infrastructure (SDI) vision, and plays a major role in creating a pervasive private, public, and hybrid cloud experience for enterprises.

As technology matures, the trend is for organisations to extend cloud deployments to even more flexible private, hybrid, and public cloud models. The new models promise ways to expand the scope of value-added business services, address top priorities like big data and bring-your-own-device and mobility initiatives, and deliver enterprise applications as services.

A good example of an evolved cloud strategy was the BMW Group's long-term cloud strategy.

The car manufacturing giant pursued a cloud strategy in two phases, with short development cycles and specific short-term objectives.

The first phase focused on delivering private cloud services; phase two extends the private cloud to a hybrid model.

The decision to start with a private cloud infrastructure was designed to avoid data and infrastructure security issues, provider dependencies, and integration deficiencies that are often encountered with public cloud infrastructures.

For its private cloud environment, BMW used modularised open architecture based on industry standards and usage models from the Open Data Center Alliance to create secure platform and infrastructure layers, business orchestration, and technical automation.

For a successful open cloud infrastructure, an organisation must have a rich ecosystem that incorporates technology from leading cloud computing computers.

To expose core cloud infrastructure resources (compute, storage, and networking) in a programmable manner, Intel chose an open-source cloud OS, OpenStack, and implemented it for all of its hosting virtualisation environments. OpenStack enables us to advance from self-service for only compute (server) provisioning to self-service for storage and network elements as well.

For example, to meet escalating capacity requirements in the cloud, providers are turning to a "scale-out" storage infrastructure. Red Hat Storage based on the GlusterFS technology combines industry-standard servers and standard storage components. The GlusterFS architectural model -- basing cloud storage on a set of converged storage servers -- allows providers to scale resources to boost capacity, bandwidth, and I/O performance as required, with minimal time to deployment and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

As a convergence platform for IT hosting, OpenStack provides a dashboard that gives administrators management control. A web interface provides the self-service functionality, enabling users to select and provision resources readily. The combination of OpenStack with our automated monitoring and configuration tools allows us to more easily deliver rapid provisioning of new capacity for Intel's application developers.

Another important element of a cloud hosting strategy is regular server refreshes. To improve its ability to cost effectively meet current and future compute needs within existing datacentres, for Intel's own private cloud, it is transitioning to servers based on the Intel Xeon processor E7 v2 family.

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