Given the performance and economic attractiveness of cloud computing, the logical question for an organisation to ask is if there is a way to take advantage of all of the benefits and get around the challenges. One approach, and certainly a recommended first step toward cloud computing, would be to construct a cloud-like architecture within your organisations own datacentre.
One key consideration for organisations is that IT infrastructure provisioning is typically a complicated and time-consuming process that often takes weeks to complete. System resources need to be redefined consistently to suit the differing needs of business units and development teams, and intensive coordination is required from all the employees involved in the actual physical installation of the system. This creates another problem, as there is often a lack of standardisation between the developers and administrators involved in the manual provisioning. Ultimately, this complexity and difficulty in implementation leaves a vast majority of applications unprotected.
This is where orchestration and automation can change the game. The basic philosophy behind orchestration is that consumers of resources should use logical definitions to provision resources themselves. Once these definitions have been set up, developers and administrators can then request the required resources from the orchestrator. This allows them to easily provision the required system through automated processes, which not only speeds up but also simplifies the entire system provisioning process.
Fujitsus ServerView Resource Orchestrator (ROR) attempts to do just that. Targeted at organisations that want to build a cloud-like environment to support the self-service provisioning of IT infrastructure resources, ROR automates the system provisioning process and makes it blazingly fast.
Furthermore, high availability can be realized without much effort. By simply matching logical definitions, ROR is able to automatically detect the failure of a server, and assign another compatible server to handle the task instead. In this way, a large number of pooled production servers can be protected by just one server, or a few substitute systems. This presents itself as a cost-saving alternative to system clusters, which are often more complex and higher in cost.
ROR has already been configured to provide interfaces compatible with technology partners such as NetApp, Cisco, Brocade, VMware and Microsoft, with more integration with other interfaces planned. With improved consistency and compliance of system configurations, along with increased utilization of invested hardware, ROR can be used for rapid provisioning and as an enabling technology to build private and public cloud environments.
With the right management solutions, you have the opportunity to address the challenges of cloud computing. This allows for significant benefits from both an IT and business perspective. And it enables you to take a supply-chain approach to IT, leveraging best-of-breed solutions as links in the chain supporting your initiatives.
The writer is Deputy Director, Fujitsu Platform Business Group.
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