Cloud computing is not some voguish weight-loss programme. To get the most from it requires a transformation of the whole datacentre, not just individual applications, says Lori MacVittie.
Consolidation and more efficient use of resources are behind many moves to the cloud. But for long-term success and control over costs, we need to view the move to cloud computing as a change of lifestyle and not just a fad diet.
Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows that the easy part is losing it. It's keeping it off that's really hard. That's because what is really required is a lifestyle change — it isn't just a change of diet. It's the ongoing vigilance in adhering to that diet that assures long-term success.
Trim the fat of excess resources and leave the datacentre a lean, green application-delivery machine.
Similarly, if you view cloud computing and virtualisation as merely a temporary datacentre weight-loss programme to allow you to fit into that new budget, you're ignoring the chance to transform the datacentre and its health for a lifetime.
Exploiting the cloud — private or public — requires incorporation of the model into datacentre architectures and processes. It's got to be a change in the way resources are viewed, used and ultimately managed. It is not just a quick-fix for a budget problem that exists today.
The datacentre diet
One of the goals of exploiting virtualisation and ultimately cloud computing is the efficient use of resources, particularly compute resources. In traditional datacentre architectures we are accustomed to server utilisation that is far below capacity — often less than 50 percent for any given application.
There's a lot of fat to be trimmed from the datacentre, and virtualisation combined with cloud computing enables organisations to reduce the number of physical servers while maintaining availability of applications simply by better provisioning and managing the remaining resources.
By viewing resources as an amalgamation of compute resources rather than individual compute capacities, it is possible to consolidate those resources into a single pool that can be distributed more efficiently to meet the demands of applications, thus reducing operational and capital expenditures. The datacentre can fit into that shrinking budget.
That's a good thing. That's the diet, right there. Trim the fat of excess resources and leave the datacentre a lean, green application-delivery machine.
Keeping the datacentre weight off
The trick is keeping it off, just like a diet. In the datacentre, the pounds start piling on with the scaling-out process. An application experiences a flash mob of traffic — and, by design, the infrastructure — automatically provisions the additional resources necessary to maintain availability and performance goals.
Indeed, auto-scaling is a beautiful thing, but without the proper processes in place to scale back down when traffic and usage...