|By Debasish Chanda||
|December 2, 2010 10:15 AM EST||
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A 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.
- Analysis and Test
- SP Selection
- Migration and Support
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 987
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Nov. 25, 2014 09:30 PM EST Reads: 1,023
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Nov. 25, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,329
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Nov. 25, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,141
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 25, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,198
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Nov. 24, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,570
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 24, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,445
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 AM EST Reads: 1,583
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
Nov. 24, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,599
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Nov. 23, 2014 07:30 PM EST Reads: 1,785
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 23, 2014 12:00 PM EST Reads: 1,726
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Nov. 23, 2014 07:45 AM EST Reads: 1,738
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,481
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 1,544
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,547
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,473
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,405
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 1,453
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
Nov. 20, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,395
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
Nov. 20, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,674