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7 requirements for building your cloud infrastructure

Sheng Liang and Peder Ulander | Dec. 22, 2010
While 2010 was the year for talking about the cloud, 2011 will be the year for implementation.

FRAMINGHAM, 21 DECEMBER 2010 - Today, service providers and enterprises interested in implementing clouds face the challenge of integrating complex software and hardware components from multiple vendors. The resulting system can end up being expensive to build and hard to operate, minimizing the original motives and benefits of moving to cloud computing. Cloud computing platforms are attractive because they let businesses quickly access hosted private and public resources on-demand without the complexities and time associated with the purchase, installation, configuration and deployment of traditional physical infrastructure.

While 2010 was the year for talking about the cloud, 2011 will be the year for implementation. It is for this reason that it is important for service providers and enterprises to gain a better understanding of exactly what they need to build their cloud infrastructure. For both enterprises and service providers, the successful creation and deployment of cloud services will become the foundation for their IT operations for years to come making it essential to get it right from the start.

For the architect employed with building out a cloud infrastructure, there are seven key requirements that need to be addressed when building their cloud strategy. These requirements include:

1. Heterogeneous Systems Support

Not only should cloud management solutions leverage the latest hardware, virtualization and software solutions, but they should also support a data center's existing infrastructure. While many of the early movers based their solutions on commodity and open source solutions like general x86 systems running open source Xen and distributions like CentOS, larger service providers and enterprises have requirements around both commodity and proprietary systems when building out their clouds. Additionally, cloud management providers must integrate with traditional IT systems in order to truly meet the requirements of the data center. Companies that don't support technologies from the likes of Cisco, Red Hat, NetApp, EMC, VMware and Microsoft will fall short in delivering a true cloud product that fits the needs of the data center.

2. Service Management

To productize the functionality of cloud computing, it is important that administrators have a simple tool for defining and metering service offerings. A service offering is a quantified set of services and applications that end users can consume through the provider whether the cloud is private or public. Service offerings should include resource guarantees, metering rules, resource management and billing cycles. The service management functionality should tie into the broader offering repository such that defined services can be quickly and easily deployed and managed by the end user.

3. Dynamic Workload and Resource Management

In order for a cloud to be truly on-demand and elastic while consistently able to meet consumer service level agreements (SLAs), the cloud must be workload- and resource- aware. Cloud computing raises the level of abstraction to make all components of the data center virtualized, not just compute and memory. Once abstracted and deployed, it is critical that management solutions have the ability to create policies around workload and data management to ensure that maximum efficiency and performance is delivered to the system running in the cloud. This becomes even more critical as systems hit peak demand. The system must be able to dynamically prioritize systems and resources on-the-fly based on business priorities of the various workloads to ensure that SLAs are met.


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