Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Nate Vickery, Liz McMillan, Jeev Trika, Karyn Jeffery

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing and the Future of the Enterprise Data Center

The enterprise computing world is seeing a revolution last seen during the evolution and adoption of the internet

This article discusses how the enterprise data center is dissolving into a virtual computing space where all computing resources are addressed through the Internet. It discusses the evolution of cloud computing, its affect on enterprise IT strategy and the future enterprise computing in the data centers as we know it.

Introduction
The enterprise computing world is seeing a revolution last seen during the evolution and adoption of the internet.  The brick and mortar Data Center, centric to all the computing needs of an enterprise is under pressure as CIOs crunch ROI and TCO numbers. The ever increasing cost of maintenance of an Enterprise Data Center is forcing business to look at these numbers and the implementing strategic decisions to cut cost. The common refrain is the ever increasing cost of maintaining a large Data Center, heating, cooling, electricity and maintenance costs, both hardware and resources.

This ROI and cost approach has been historically focused on the hardware and the facilities.

Hardware
With ever-increasing faster and greater computing needs, business computing went with bigger machines, multi-processor, and multithread servers that could handle large application loads. These machines needed a large initial investment and an incremental cost in maintenance support. In most cases the capacity utilization of these machines was low, leading to a poor ROI. IT managers then moved their application to smaller footprint machines, and the blade system with multiple blades in the same chassis sharing a small footprint have become increasingly popular. The modular nature of the hardware and the ability to hot swap components has made this move very popular with IT managers.

Virtualization
The next step in the evolution to smaller footprint computing as well as increased utilization of the hardware was the adoption of virtualization strategies across all platforms. With the advent of virtualization in almost all areas from Wintel, to Unix to storage, a large number of virtual machines could be hosted on the same physical machine and multiple applications and users serviced from these virtual machines. This has meant that the system administrator does not have to be in close proximity to the server; he just needs to be able to access the machine over the network.

With the advent of virtualization as well as the large push to outsource and offshore application support as well as the easy and cheap access to relatively large bandwidths becoming available, moving the support of these virtualized machines to either outsourced service partners or even off shored partners has become a reality. More and more enterprises who have had long standing fruitful vendor relationships with their outsourced or off-shored partner are making a concentrated move towards remote management services of their enterprise hardware.

In all of the cases above the hardware remains to be hosted out of a brick and mortar Data Center. Large enterprises who own and manage their own data centers continue to bear the cost of operating the facility, the cost of the real estate, power, cooling and maintenance and upkeep of the back up systems, as well as the resources needed to operate the data center. The smaller enterprises have moved to co-located data center facilities that manage the facilities for a cost. All of them own and support their own hardware or at least pay for it through outsourced partners.

Cloud Computing
With advent of cloud computing and the successes of various IT functions that service their users with Applications and platforms over the internet, it is becoming clear that this method of IT service and delivery will fundamentally change the future of the Data Center relative to an enterprise. Cloud computing merges many new technologies into an amalgamated whole including web 2.0, fast and cheap bandwidth, virtualization, utility computing etc.

The North American National Institute for Standard and Technology (NIST) defines cloud computing  as " a model for enabling convenient, on demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned" and released with minimum management.

The environment in cloud computing can be examined in many different ways; for all intents and purposes these can be divided into three major area; Infrastructure As a service, Software as a service and Platform as a service. Each of these main areas can be divided into smaller fine grained areas of interest depending on what the enterprise is interested in moving to the cloud. Some pundits have had more categories( Storage as a Service, Database as a Service, Information as a Service, Process as a Service, Application as a Service, Platform as a service, Integration as a Service, Security as a service, Management as a Service, Testing as a Service, Infrastructure as a service).

Thus all aspects of an enterprise IT can be serviced out of a cloud.

The cloud computing environment has also been divided into Private Clouds, Public Clouds, Hybrid Clouds

Public cloud or external cloud describes cloud computing in the traditional mainstream sense, whereby resources are dynamically provisioned on a fine-grained, self-service basis over the Internet, via web applications or web services from an off-site third-party provider who shares resources across multiple client enterprises and bills on a fine-grained use based utility computing basis.

Private cloud and internal cloud is a phrase that are used to describe offerings that emulate cloud computing on private networks. These products claim to "deliver some benefits of cloud computing without the pitfalls", capitalising on data security, corporate governance, and reliability concerns.

hybrid cloud as the name suggests consists of multiple internal and/or external providers delivering applications to the desktop through a ‘thin client' connection either over the internet or intranet.

Moving to the Cloud
The core steps in moving to the cloud can be divided into four successive steps.

  1. Identification
  2. Analysis and Test
  3. SP Selection
  4. Migration and Support

Identification
After a strategic decision has been made by the enterprise to move to the Cloud, the most important challenge to the enterprise is to identify what can be moved to the cloud and in what order. This includes applications, services, data storage and retrieval etc. The maturity of processes in the enterprise as well as its state of virtualization will be important in making these decisions.

Many enterprises may want to test the cloud computing environment by moving their ‘non-core' applications to the cloud. This implies that the enterprise has a very mature BCP and DR process in place so that suitable ‘non-core' applications can be identified. This holds true for Enterprise data, storage etc.

Application integration technologies and methods also impact the choice of applications to be moved to the cloud. A highly complex and integrated application and set of services may be a good candidate for a private cloud, where as stand alone applications may be good candidates for a public cloud. Same holds true for enterprise data; confidential, trade related data may be hosted in a private cloud to manage security concerns and non critical data may be hosted in a public cloud. Hence cloud types and configurations could be managed to the risk and security profile of the enterprise.

Analysis and Test
Once the applications or platforms have been selected, it is essential to test these under the cloud scenario. If this will be accessed through a private cloud, a testing sandbox that comprises of the application, storage, intranet access etc needs to be created for testing. This is a validation exercise to test performance under various and load conditions. The results of this testing should align with established SLAs with the business, else moving to the cloud can adversely affect business functions.

Target Selection
Once the data, process and service of the identified candidate applications/process/DB has been completed, the service provider selection should be based on those needs. In addition business requirement on the viability of the SP, their ‘always-on' ability, the use of tracking/preventing machine downtimes; recover from failures dynamically, and the SLAs between the enterprise and the SP need to be considered while choosing the right SP or SPs. Depending on the criticality of the Application or process and the BCP associated with it, these may be hosted by multiple SP with failover capabilities between the two sites.

Deployment
This is the last step in the process where application code, storage etc is ported/migrated to the cloud. This could involve the creation of new services and processes to support the new environment. This is an incremental process as the enterprise IT gets comfortable with the migration process and applications can be moved to the cloud in phases or batches.

Limitations
The maturity of the enterprise computing is very important as companies look at moving to the cloud. A very mature BCP and DR process as well as highly virtualized Data Center environment will be a pre-requisite before companies can make the jump. The definition of core and non-core applications and data and the choice of the initial applications to move to the cloud is also critical. Some legacy graphical applications which are multi-desktop at the user end are not good candidates to move to the cloud. Applications whose performance has been fine tuned to the extent that any change in hardware environment creates adversely affects the performance are not good initial candidates.

The Future
As more and more companies start looking at cloud computing as a viable alternative to a brick and mortar data center, the future of the Data center as we know it is expected to change drastically. As risk concerns of moving applications and data to the cloud are removed by service providers getting the Cloud Data Center audited inline with COBIT, PCI-SOX and ISO27002 to prove that the data in their data centers is safe and various environments are physically and logically separated, more and more CIOs are expected to support their Data Center environments to the cloud (up to 65% per Gartner's report). Enterprise Data Centers, NOC, etc., may be dying breed in the next decade.

More Stories By Debasish Chanda

Deb Chanda has 20 years of infrastructure and process consulting, thought leadership, client management, program and portfolio management and custom solution architecture experience at large global customers in multiple domains (manufacturing, distribution/retail/CPG, health care, and oil and gas). He has extensive domain expertise in enterprise architecture and cloud computing, data center architecture, IT Strategy and optimization, remote management services including global outsourcing, practice program and project management, and business process re-engineering.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...