4 Cloud Characteristics Changing the Data Center
The powerful new cloud computing paradigm is changing the nature of the data center. Now users can request and receive information and services dynamically over networks from an abstracted set of resources.
The recent report from InformationWeek, 2012 State of Cloud Computing, states that "'everything' has already changed", according to the 511 business IT professionals that participated in the report. However the report suggests that there are "major gaps in how organizations are selecting, integrating and monitoring the services their employees depend on. The bulk of cloud initiatives come from the ground up and are reactive, in response to line-of-business requirements. IT rarely has an overarching vision of how it all fits together."
This set of resources made possible by the cloud cannot be managed manually by IT anymore. Cloud infrastructure relies strongly on automatic provisioning and deployment. This means that there is a new set of key characteristics that impact system management.
1. Dynamic Server Creation
Cloud computing builds on virtualization, allowing organizations to dynamically and elastically provision servers on-demand. Users can request new services through a self-service Web portal. Supporting technologies can automatically create and provision the additional virtual servers required to support the new services. Similarly servers could be de-provisioned when workload falls.
The automatic provisioning and deprovisioning capability provides the elasticity of the cloud, that makes it so adaptable and ready to confront agile workload changes. The cloud automatically adds and removes machines available in the system, dynamically reconfiguring a Cloud. Such automation uses various methods to deploy and set up required configuration (virtual images, scripts, templates, desired configuration policies etc.). Complicated scripts automatically and simultaneously set up virtual machines.
2. Multiple IPs on Same Cloud Host
IP not longer provides insight into the function and architecture of a server. Multiple servers can be allocated and de-allocated dynamically, and can support the same service. Each server receives a new IP when spun off. This means that in the cloud there isn't one unique IP address tied to your server. These multiple elastic IP addresses make redundant setups possible, expanding potential processing power.
See more in Cloud Management Needs Context
3. Server Abstraction
Cloud computing is an abstraction of things that have not been abstracted before, instead of having servers, software, applications and storage, all of that is abstracted to the user and even the IT manager.
Virtual servers are now defined by the base image used to spin them off and a set of deployment assets (scripts, templates etc.) that customize the base image.
Abstraction literally liberates workloads and applications from the physical boundaries of server hardware, eliminating hardware boundaries, dependencies and providing workload mobility. That mobility is even being extended to moving workloads from internal data centers to service providers and vice versa.
4. Tons of Changes Are Now Less Important
The very dynamic nature of cloud-based operations increases the volume of configuration information and changes to keep track of. Dealing with scale, rapid change and impermanence now means a processing overhead nightmare for IT ops teams (humans) managing cloud environments.
Nearly every organization potentially has access to a steady stream of unstructured data -- whether it's pouring in from social media networks or from sensors monitoring a factory floor. But just because an organization is producing, that doesn't mean there's a business imperative to save and act on every byte.
IT managers are confronting a fire hose pointing at them a pressurized stream of configuration data. This requires new tools to filter this fire hose of information in order to analyze and figure out what configuration data is and isn't relevant to operations.
More on Cloud Issues
See more of recent look at how cloud developments impact the data center and IT Operations:
- Forget Tool Improvements! Today's Systems Management Needs A New Generation Of Tools
- Cloud Changes Everything! Need A New Generation Of Management Tools
- Cloud Configuration Management Is Critical For Leveraging Cloud Advantages
- Cloud-Ops: The Reinvented IT Ops