Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, TJ Randall

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

VCE: Driving the Velocity of Change in Cloud Computing

VCE's new specialized systems are key to de-risking mission critical application deployments

When you think Cloud, whether Private or Public, one of the key advantages that comes to mind is speed of deployment. All businesses crave the ability to simply go to a service portal, define their infrastructure requirements and immediately have a platform ready for their new application. Coupled with that you instantly have service level agreements that generally center on uptime and availability. So for example, instead of being a law firm that spends most of its budget on an in house IT department and datacenter, the Cloud provides an unavoidable opportunity for businesses to instead procure infrastructure as a service and consequently focus on delivering their key applications. But while the understanding of Cloud Computing and its benefits have matured within the industry, so too has the understanding that maybe what's currently being offered still isn't good enough for their mission critical applications. The reality is that there is still a need for a more focused and refined understanding of what the service level agreements should be and ultimately a more concerted approach towards the applications. So while neologisms such as speed, agility and flexibility remain synonymous with Cloud Computing, its success and maturity ultimately depend upon a new focal point, namely velocity.

Velocity bears a distinction from speed in that it's not just a measure of how fast an object travels but also in what direction that object moves. For example in a Public Cloud whether that be Amazon, Azure or Google no one can dispute the speed. Through only the clicks of a button you have a ready-made server that can immediately be used for testing and development purposes. But while it may be quick to deploy, how optimised is it for your particular environment, business or application requirements? With only generic forms the specific customization to a particular workload or business requirement fails to be achieved as optimization is sacrificed for the sake of speed. Service levels based on uptime and availability are not an adequate measure or guarantee for the successful deployment of an application. For example it would be considered ludicrous to purchase a laptop from a service provider that merely stipulates a guarantee that it will remain powered on even though it performs atrociously.

In the Private Cloud or traditional IT example, while the speed to deployment is not as quick as that of a public cloud, there are other scenarios where speed is being witnessed yet failing to produce the results required for a maturing Cloud market. Multiple infrastructure silos will constantly be seen to be hurrying around, busily firefighting and maintaining "the keeping the lights on culture" all at rapid speed. Yet while the focus should be on the applications that need to be delivered, being caught in the quagmire of the underlying infrastructure persistently takes precedent with IT admin having to constantly deal with interoperability issues, firmware upgrades, patches and multi-management panes of numerous components. Moreover service offerings such as Gold, Silver, Bronze or Platinum are more often than not centered around infrastructure metrics such as number of vCPUs, Storage RAID type, Memory etc. instead of application response times that are predictable and scalable to the end user's stipulated demands.

For Cloud to embrace the concept of velocity the consequence would be a focused and rigorous approach that has a direction aimed solely at the successful deployment of applications that in turn enable the business to quickly generate revenue. All the pieces of the jigsaw that go into attaining that quick and focused approach would require a mentality of velocity being adopted comprehensively from each silo of the infrastructure team while concurrently working in cohesion with the application team to deliver value to the business. This approach would also entail a focused methodology to application optimization and consequently a service level that measured and targeted its success based on application performance as opposed to just uptime and availability.

While some Cloud and service providers may claim that they already work in unison with a focus on applications, it is rarely the case behind the scenes as they too are caught in the challenge of traditional build it yourself IT. Indeed it's well known that some Cloud hosting providers are duping their end users with pseudo service portals where only the impression of an automated procedure for deploying their infrastructure is actually provided. Instead service portals that actually only populate a PDF of the requirements which are then printed out and sent to an offshore admin who in turn provisions the VM as quickly as possible are much closer to the truth. Additionally it's more than likely that your Private Cloud or service provider has a multi-tenant infrastructure with mixed workloads that sits behind the scenes as logical pools ready to be carved up for your future requirements. While this works for the majority of workloads and SMB applications, with more businesses looking to place more critical and demanding applications into their Private Cloud to attain the benefits of chargeback etc. they need an assurance of an application response time that is almost impossible to guarantee on a mixed workload infrastructure. As the Cloud market matures and the expectations that come with it with regards to application delivery and performance, such procedures and practices will only be suitable for certain markets and workloads.

So for velocity to take precedent within the Private Cloud, Cloud or even Infrastructure as a Service model and to fill this Cloud maturity void, infrastructure needs to be delivered with applications as their focal point. That consequently means a pre-integrated, pre-validated, pre-installed and application certified appliance that is standardized as a product and optimised to meet scalable demands and performance requirements. This is why the industry will soon start to see a new emergence of specialized systems specifically designed and built from inception for performance optimization of specific application workloads. By having applications pre-installed, certified and configured with both the application and infrastructure vendors working in cohesion, the ability for Private Cloud or service providers to predict, meet and propose application performance based service levels becomes a lot more feasible. Additionally such an approach would also be ideal for end users who just need a critical application rolled out immediately in house with minimum fuss and risk.

While there may be a number of such appliances or specialized systems that will emerge in the market for applications such as SAP HANA or Cisco Unified Communications the key is to ensure that they're standardized as well as optimised. This entails a converged infrastructure that rolls out as a single product and consequently has a single matrix upgrade for all of its component patches and firmware upgrades that subsequently also correspond with the application. Additionally it encompasses a single support model that includes not only the infrastructure but also the application. This in turn not only eliminates vendor finger pointing and prolonged troubleshooting but also acts as an assurance that responsibility of the application's performance is paramount regardless of the potential cause of the problem.

The demand for key applications to be monitored, optimised and rolled out with speed and velocity will be faced by not only Service providers and Private Cloud deployments but also internal IT departments who are struggling with their day to day firefighting exercises. To ensure success, IT admin will need a new breed of infrastructure or specialized systems that enables them to focus on delivering, optimizing and managing the application and consequently not needing to worry about the infrastructure that supports them. This is where the new Vblock specialized systems being offered by VCE come into play. Unlike other companies with huge portfolios of products, VCE have a single focal point, namely Vblocks. By now adopting that same approach of velocity that was instilled for the production of standardized Vblock models, end users can now reap the same rewards with new specialized systems that are application specific. Herein lies the key to Cloud maturity and ultimately the successful deployment of mission critical applications.

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

@CloudExpo Stories
Deep learning has been very successful in social sciences and specially areas where there is a lot of data. Trading is another field that can be viewed as social science with a lot of data. With the advent of Deep Learning and Big Data technologies for efficient computation, we are finally able to use the same methods in investment management as we would in face recognition or in making chat-bots. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Gaurav Chakravorty, co-founder and Head of Strategy Development ...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided 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 settl...
"I will be talking about ChatOps and ChatOps as a way to solve some problems in the DevOps space," explained Himanshu Chhetri, CTO of Addteq, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DXWorldEXPO within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of bus...
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
Digital transformation has increased the pace of business creating a productivity divide between the technology haves and have nots. Managing financial information on spreadsheets and piecing together insight from numerous disconnected systems is no longer an option. Rapid market changes and aggressive competition are motivating business leaders to reevaluate legacy technology investments in search of modern technologies to achieve greater agility, reduced costs and organizational efficiencies. ...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...