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E-Book: Introduction to Cloud Computing: Entering the Private Cloud Chapter 2: Priming Data Center Infrastructure for a Private Cloud
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E-Book: Introduction to Cloud Computing: Entering the Private Cloud Chapter 2: Priming Data Center Infrastructure for a Private Cloud

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As TECHNOLOGISTS struggle to get a handle on the private cloud, they frequently arrive at a key realization: Building a private cloud often requires an overhaul of existing data center infrastructure. …

As TECHNOLOGISTS struggle to get a handle on the private cloud, they frequently arrive at a key realization: Building a private cloud often requires an overhaul of existing data center infrastructure. A private cloud means a layer of software and management built on top of existing data center infrastructure that masks the differences underlying data center hardware, storage and networks to enable scalability, elasticity, and on-demand access to applications and other services.

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  • 1. PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUDCHAPTER 2 ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD BY MIKE LAVE RICK Slapping cloud management software on top of an existing data center environment isn’t going to cut it. For a true private cloud architecture, you need to brace for major technology, process and personnel change.
  • 2. A CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD struggle to get a handle S TECHNOLOGISTS on the private cloud, they frequently arrive at a key realization: Building a private cloud often requires an HOME overhaul of existing data center AUDITS infrastructure. I A private cloud means a layer of software and management built VIRTUAL on top of existing data center infrastructure that MACHINES masks the differences underlying data center STORAGE hardware, storage and networks to enable scala- bility, elasticity, and on-demand access to appli- NETWORKS cations and other services.BILLING SYSTEMS Some thus refer to the cloud layer existing infrastructure for a private as a “manager of managers” that cloud remains a mystery. In this I.T. ROLES allows data center operators to chapter on building a cloud infra- move application workloads; reallo- structure, we explore how to turn an cate memory, storage and other IT existing virtualized data center into MANAGING resources where the most oomph is a private cloud and how storage, CHANGE needed; and consolidate data and networks and legacy systems will management in a single “location.” necessarily change. For most data centers, making this delicate equation work involves substantial change of existing infra- AUDITING EXISTING structure and practices. You can’t ENVIRONMENTS just slap a layer of cloud manage- Most fundamentally, cloud-based ment software on top of your exist- architecture changes existing ing servers, storage and networks processes, so you need to begin by and call it a private cloud. But for auditing your existing environment. many IT managers, how to retool Your existing virtual infrastructure ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 2
  • 3. CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD may have evolved over time: A serv- new VMs; er consolidation–focused agenda— I storage allocation and rather than a cloud-focused one— existing process; may have driven structures and I network bandwidth; application setups. Or you may have I VLAN tagging and vSwitch begun with server virtualization to practices; run test and development applica- I billing systems; and tions and only later moved to pro- I staff roles. HOME duction server virtual machines (VMs). Obviously, this patchwork As you begin your audit, you approach to building an infrastruc- need to consider physical servers AUDITS ture has an impact on existing IT and VMs first. practices and policies. VIRTUAL So your audit shouldn’t be limited MACHINES to the virtualization layer but should MAKING VIRTUAL MACHINES also consider the surrounding busi- CLOUD-READY ness processes that enable a virtual I VM templates. At the most basic STORAGE infrastructure to function. This re- level, creating, provisioning and quires taking a hard look at which managing virtual machines in the aspects of your processes are func- cloud differs from existing data cen- NETWORKS tional and which are dysfunctional. ter management practices. In a vir- Core areas to consider are storage tual infrastructure, existing change and networking, but other legacy management routines dictate theBILLING SYSTEMS systems should be evaluated, such process of creating new VMs, and as existing billing and invoicing sys- their chief motivation is often to I.T. ROLES tems, so that a cloud infrastructure eliminate VM sprawl. Additionally, can encompass chargeback capabil- VM templates—which provide a ities. standardized group of hardware and MANAGING During your audit of the existing software settings that are used to CHANGE environment, consider these techni- create new VMs—likely include only cal and business process–related a base OS, service packs and other areas: patches. Given their fear of perform- ance problems, most organizations I existing VM templates; have steered clear of installing full- I the number of physical blown applications and services into virtualization hosts; these templates. I the total cluster-free resource In the cloud, however, one goal is capacity (e.g., memory, CPU to allow end consumers to create and storage); new applications and services on I the procedures in deploying demand. When end consumers log ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 3
  • 4. CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD in to a cloud portal, they expect a formance-sensitive servers that service catalog to offer more than a were considered too tricky to virtu- couple of virtual applications that alize. contain merely a base OS build. With the major advances in They want a complete service or hypervisors, it’s time to push these application. And this self-service IT systems out of the nest and into the provisioning model is likely to run virtualization layer. Finally, it’s time counter to certain control proce- to review the policies and change HOME dures already in place. management routines that have So you need to confront the been enforced on VMs. Are they assumptions and procedures of the still valid, or are they a throwback AUDITS past. In the case of templates, this to how things were done in the means going “up the stack” and physical world? Now that virtualiza- VIRTUAL installing services and applications tion has proven its mettle with pro- MACHINES into VMs. You need to work closely duction workloads in the data cen- with the stakeholders who tradition- ter, a more aggressive policy is ally manage these applications and required. STORAGE gain approval for VM configuration. And before they can be included in a service catalog, VMs need consider- MAKING STORAGE CLOUD-READY NETWORKS able testing and verification. In a cloud-based environment, provisioning adequate storage is I A VM-first policy. While the one of the central pain points, andBILLING SYSTEMS move to a cloud-based model does- only some of the challenges are n’t exclude physical servers, the technical. New ways of provisioning I.T. ROLES more virtualized your existing infra- storage for the cloud may be at odds structure, the easier the transition to with storage architecture, or they a cloud will be. If you haven’t done may well run afoul of existing data MANAGING so already, adopt a “VM-first poli- center practices and departmental CHANGE cy,” in which new services and appli- divisions. Still, the cloud will change cations are virtualized by default. the data center IT roles and respon- Then, only when it’s been demon- sibilities with which you are familiar strated that these services cannot today. perform well virtualized, deploy them on dedicated physical servers. I Architectural differences. Server Additionally, it may be time to virtualization and enterprise-grade reappraise physical servers that storage technologies have evolved were originally excluded from the on diverging paths. Attempts to early phases of virtualization. These marry the two and, thus, gain the physical boxes may have been per- benefits of a cloud environment are ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 4
  • 5. In the cloud, with a mere click of the mouse, users can access even terabytes of costly storage with less oversight than CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD they had previously. often a kludge. An enterprise run- that even if your storage pool is best ning a decent-sized storage area of breed and virtualized, it was set network (SAN) appliance, for exam- up to work for day-to-day needs ple, must have direct access to the and you don’t manage it much. appliance even to set up a storage When you link virtualized resources pool to boot a single VM. together into infrastructure-agnos- Compare that with a standard tic pools with broader access, your storage management interface isn’t HOME going to “just work” with VMs seamlessly. AUDITS I Storage access. In traditional vir- tualization environments, access VIRTUAL to storage is strictly controlled, and MACHINES virtualization administrators may engage in weekly or daily battles to get the storage needed. In the world STORAGE of the cloud, with a mere click of the mouse, end consumers can access many gigabytes or terabytes of cost- NETWORKS virtualized server, which is a single- ly storage with less oversight than image file that runs with virtual disk they had previously. So the chal- space already embedded in it and lenge is to introduce a cultural andBILLING SYSTEMS assumes a user operates on a host a technology change. that is capable of processing The job of the cloud administrator I.T. ROLES instructions (i.e., CPU) and talking is to present storage in a way that is directly to storage devices. The ideal easy to consume yet also reinforces host environment for virtualization the concept that there is no free MANAGING is a massive single server with as lunch. As end consumers select CHANGE many cores, RAM and direct- items from a service catalog, the attached storage as possible. But best cloud automation software that’s not how infrastructure with makes them aware of the cost of individual servers and a SAN works. storage through chargeback This is not to say that high-level, processes. expensive, safe storage and virtual- Today, a raft of storage manage- ization can’t work together, though. ment plug-ins for virtualization plat- So it’s important for private cloud forms such as VMware’s virtualiza- architects to take a long hard look tion suite, vSphere, allows admins to at how storage interacts with data provision new storage directly from center architecture. Chances are VMware’s management console. ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 5
  • 6. Even if your network works well, you may still have bandwidth problems waiting in CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD the wings. They save a huge amount of time I Bandwidth. Even if your network and automate processes that, even works well, with every desk outfitted with the help of scripting tools, are with 1 Gigabit Ethernet bandwidth time sinks. Still, while plug-ins are a and a handful of solid links to serve boon, storage teams may hesitate to everyone’s needs, you may still have allow virtualization administrators bandwidth problems waiting in the the rights to use them, as broaden- wings. So get ready to invest in tools ing access reduces traditional iron- for monitoring network congestion. HOME fisted control over storage array If you virtualize everything you can consumption. and start serving all these resources AUDITS I Storage pools. Cloud automation vendors have also discussed creat- VIRTUAL ing pools of storage in various MACHINES “tiers”—gold, silver and bronze cat- egories, for example—with each tier representing differing kinds of disk, STORAGE RAID levels and number of spindles. But most storage administrators won’t recognize this model of man- NETWORKS aging storage. Historically, corpo- from the network—and users have rate IT has focused more on the access to do so themselves—the application—say, an email applica- bottlenecks will arise relativelyBILLING SYSTEMS tion—and quantities of space and quickly. IOPS (or I/O per second) needed for If VM sprawl is an issue for your I.T. ROLES users to access applications. The IT shop, a private cloud will pose business side would often request a even bigger problems. Your team certain amount of capacity from the may stand up handfuls of servers MANAGING storage team based on proof-of- simultaneously and create massive CHANGE concept and scalability tests. loads that disrupt other operations. Now imagine them doing so from home and clogging your entire oper- MAKING NETWORKS ation’s Internet connection until you CLOUD-READY can corral them. If you’re also plan- While private clouds mask underly- ning virtual desktop infrastructure ing differences at the infrastructure or workspace virtualization, the layer to allow for scale and dyna- headaches are ever-present. mism, this homogeneity creates To combat these issues, consider new network bandwidth and provi- reallocating and expanding band- sioning challenges. width to resource-hungry users ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 6
  • 7. Many IT shops have a kind of “fairness doctrine” in place, where all parts of the organization have an equal share of network resources CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD whether they need them or not. before implementing cloud strate- to pre-create pools of VLAN IDs on gies. a physical switch. When a new VM Many IT shops have a kind of or virtual application is created, a “fairness doctrine” in place, where cloud end consumer eats up these all parts of the organization have an VLAN IDs without having to ask the equal share of company network network team to set them up. resources whether they need them or not. But plan on careful segrega- HOME tion of different kinds of users. Just as you create tiers of VM templates, consider tiers of user classes. And AUDITS have headroom in place to accom- modate this allocation of resources. VIRTUAL A virtualized environment that MACHINES consolidates numerous physical servers into a smaller number won’t necessarily add to network traffic, STORAGE and that hasn’t been a big consider- ation in terms of resource allocation. But revamping your data center into NETWORKS a private cloud means delivering more services over a network to users who come and go when they But VLANs defined on a physicalBILLING SYSTEMS please. Consider your bandwidth switch are not “free.” Most physical needs and think hard about an switches support only a certain I.T. ROLES upgrade. number of VLAN definitions, and the name space for VLANs can be IVLAN tagging. Virtualized net- consumed at a much faster rate MANAGING works also need to be separated to than expected. CHANGE ensure data privacy. So they need The biggest change here is con- mechanisms to ensure that these vincing a network team that creat- networks can share the same physi- ing VLANs up front—which may or cal network link without compro- may not be used—is a good idea. mising or leaking information In some respects, it flouts a genera- between networks. tion of best practices that counsels To allow access to a physical net- IT managers to configure only what work, most cloud automation soft- is needed to protect resources from ware uses the virtual local area net- being hijacked by nefarious intrud- work (VLAN) tagging model. This ers. approach requires a network team (Continued on page 9) ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 7
  • 8. BUILDING A PRIVATE CLOUD CHECKLIST CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD BUILDING A private cloud requires you to revisit so many existing systems and prac- tices that it can be daunting. But this checklist can help break down what seems like overwhelming change into digestible steps. BY BOB PLANKERS 1. Evaluate and Assess G Document availability, disaster  HOME G Create a starting point, or baseline,  recovery, and performance needs in with an inventory of current hard- the form of a service-level agree- ware and software, including exist- ment, which will help define success. AUDITS ing virtualization, network and stor- age infrastructure. 3. Deploy VIRTUAL G Assess existing vendor relationships   G Adopt an attitude that if it needs to MACHINES for virtualization- and cloud-friendly be done more than once, it needs to licensing and support. be automated. G Assess security and business   G Create documented standards and STORAGE requirements. templates to ensure consistency. G Assess vendor roadmaps to avoid   G Make training available to IT staff. lock-in and ensure interoperability.  G Communicate and be flexible so that NETWORKS unanticipated issues can be dealt 2. Plan with quickly. G Start with a specific, well-defined BILLING SYSTEMS project, with plans for scaling up and 4. Manage out following success.  G Anticipate adjustments as system I.T. ROLES G Include ample time in project plans  requirements become known to resolve technical and process through experience. Regularly right- issues as they arise. size virtual servers to avoid wasted MANAGING G Ensure that every aspect of IT is rep-  resources. CHANGE resented, including change and con-  G Monitor systems and workloads for figuration management so that adherence to service-level agree- process challenges can be addressed ments. up front.  G Institute chargeback mechanisms to G Ensure that staff members from key  fairly and transparently account for technical areas—such as network- resource use. ing, storage and the data center—  G Regularly review trends and capacity participate directly in private cloud with staff from all key technical design. areas. I Bob Plankers is a virtualization and cloud architect at a major Midwestern university. ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 8
  • 9. CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD (Continued from page 7) tion software assumes that a busi- I Virtual switches. Virtualization ness is comfortable with this move admins may also need to re-exam- from operated, hand-coded, static ine their default settings, which may IP addresses. In truth it is yet anoth- originally have been created for a er change in the culture that both server consolidation project. Most application owners and network virtual switches, for example, have teams must overcome. a set number of “ports” into which HOME a VM can be “plugged.” Think of it as a conventional physical device MAKING BILLING SYSTEMS like a 48-port switch. Of course, CLOUD-READY AUDITS in the virtualization world, you can I Chargeback. In most corporate have a much greater number of environments, IT pitches a budget VIRTUAL “ports” than in the physical world. based on an estimate of what it will MACHINES Most virtual switches use a static cost to maintain and upgrade the model for assigning ports to VMs. existing environment and introduce This pool of static ports can quickly new technologies. But this old way STORAGE become depleted, so a virtualization of doing things runs counter to the administrator has to look closely at chargeback practices required in a vSwitch settings to allow for a more cloud, which involves charging back NETWORKS dynamic model or for an approach the cost of IT resource use to indi- that creates and destroys ports on vidual departments. vSwitches as they are needed or Today, only a fraction of organiza-BILLING SYSTEMS discarded. tions conduct chargeback. It is tricky to accurately price the cost of vari- I.T. ROLES I IP addresses. Networks have a ous VM configurations. For those range of free addresses that can using chargeback, the other discon- deplete resources at an even faster certing issue is that a VM is not that MANAGING rate. These ranges must be large much cheaper than a physical server, CHANGE enough to accommodate the bun- and in some cases it’s more expen- dles of VMs that end consumers sive. The criteria used to price out a create. In the U.S. and elsewhere, VM does not factor in the substan- data centers have moved gradually tial cost savings of virtualization toward Dynamic Host Configuration through freed-up data center space Protocol (DHCP) with client reser- as well as reduced power and cool- vations. In this setup, a VM receives ing costs. an IP address from a DHCP server but a specified IP address from the I Showback. Some organizations IP range associated with the VM’s that have started down the road of MAC address. Most cloud automa- cloud computing have opted for the ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 9
  • 10. With the showback model, IT departments can demonstrate data on IT consumption, which is part of edu- CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD cating the business about the true cost of running infrastructure components. much more user-friendly approach cloud automation vendors’ charge- of “showback.” With the showback back models merely offer various model, IT departments can demon- ways to collect data but lack their strate data on IT consumption to own billing and invoicing engines. business units. This model encour- Instead the data collected has to be ages IT to educate the business parsed through existing third-party about the true cost of running vari- billing and invoice systems. Without ous infrastructure components. true integration among these sys- HOME tems, there can be obvious prob- lems. IT managers should ensure that integration is manageable from AUDITS a billing-cycle perspective. The chargeback and billing system must VIRTUAL also take into account that even if a MACHINES VM or vApp is powered off, it still incurs a charge because of the disk space it consumes. STORAGE MAKING I.T. ROLES CLOUD-READY NETWORKS Priming your data center infrastruc- ture for a cloud environment is only part of the battle. Your IT staff mayBILLING SYSTEMS be entrenched in its views, practices Additionally, chargeback software and relationships. And for a true I.T. ROLES has focused on counting the amount cloud environment, all of that must of memory, disk, network or CPU a change. VM uses. These chargeback models In a private cloud model, your IT MANAGING often fail to include the support staff has to be willing to share the CHANGE costs incurred and the value added keys of the infrastructure kingdom by an in-house infrastructure. They with other IT departments. IT staff underestimate the role of corporate in separate server, storage and net- IT in providing a properly audited work silos need to let go of the fief- and verifiable backup and disaster doms of the past, because the cloud recovery strategy, the ability to requires a more holistic approach. secure service-level agreements or, Somehow this reorganization has in the event of an outage, ensure to take place without undermining turnaround times in terms of the strong technical abilities of vari- uptime. ous members of the teams them- On a more operational level, most selves. To some degree, the revolu- ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 10
  • 11. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD tion of virtualization has created a and validating a service catalog, en- new model for the IT professional: suring that compliance is enforced, someone who is comfortable with and generating an audit trail. all technical areas that make up a If you lack this skill in-house, the virtualization platform. If you have next step is to hire or train existing this kind of IT skill set in-house, cur- staff to break down the technology rent IT staff can lead the move to silos of hardware, storage and net- the cloud and bring together various works to govern and manage your HOME departments and gain trust. Ulti- private cloud model. While IT mately this new IT vanguard is staffers may initially buck the responsible for shifting the focus change, they may ultimately ensure AUDITS from defending departmental silos the longevity of their careers rather against change and toward testing than risk losing their jobs. VIRTUAL MACHINES STORAGE FOR MORE INFORMATION on cloud computing, click on the content titles listed below. NETWORKS I WHAT CONVERGED INFRASTRUCTURE BRINGS TO PRIVATE CLOUD Designed with virtualization and cloud computing in mind, next-generation hardware aims to solve the scalability problems of do-it-yourself virtual infra-BILLING SYSTEMS structures. I PRIVATE CLOUDS ON THE HORIZON I.T. ROLES Whether you are trying to move to private cloud today or in research mode for the future, this report includes all our best tips and guides on how to get there. MANAGING I FROM PRIVATE TO HYBRID CLOUD: SIX CONSIDERATIONS CHANGE IT organizations with private clouds should soon see the value in a hybrid cloud expansion. I I.T. SHOPS ROLL THEIR OWN PRIVATE CLOUDS By building private clouds on-site rather than jumping into public clouds, two IT departments hope to avoid costs and the tricky navigation of the IT health- care sector. I ENTERPRISES FACE INTEGRATION HURDLES TO PRIVATE CLOUDS There are serious obstacles between enterprise IT as it exists today and achieving the Infrastructure as a Service vision. I ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 11
  • 12. CHAPTER 2 PRIMING DATA CENTER INFRASTRUCTURE FOR A PRIVATE CLOUD MANAGING CHANGE AND THE END CONSUMER The success of the private cloud model will hinge in part on how IT managers respond to the technical changes required. Users want to dynamically spin up virtual machines from a Web portal, to create custom Cathleen Gagne HOME templates for VM creation, to view Editorial Director cgagne@techtarget.com their physical and virtual resources together, and to price out the costs AUDITS Jo Maitland of individual components of a pri- Senior Executive Editor vate cloud infrastructure. If corpo- jmaitland@techtarget.com VIRTUAL rate IT doesn’t step up and present MACHINES its offering as an external commer- Lauren Horwitz cial provider would, it runs the risk Senior Managing Editor of end consumers taking their busi- lhorwitz@techtarget.com STORAGE ness elsewhere. Ultimately, though, the success Michelle Boisvert of a private cloud infrastructure will Senior Managing Editor NETWORKS mboisvert@techtarget.com hinge on how you manage change at a human level. Revamping your Jeannette Beltran infrastructure for increasing levels Associate Managing EditorBILLING SYSTEMS of virtualization, standardization jbeltran@techtarget.com and transparency can work only I.T. ROLES with executive buy-in and IT man- Linda Koury agers on the front lines, ready to Director of Online Design deliver on that strategy. I lkoury@techtarget.com MANAGING CHANGE Marc Laplante Publisher mlaplante@techtarget.com Mike Laverick is an IT instructor with 17 years of experience in technologies including Novell, Windows and Citrix Systems. Since 2003, he has TechTarget Inc. been involved with the VMware community and is 275 Grove Street a VMware forum moderator as well as a member Newton, MA 02466 of the London VMware User Group Steering Com- www.techtarget.com mittee. He is the owner and author of the virtual- ©2011 TechTarget Inc. No part of this publication may ization blog RTFM Education, where he publishes be transmitted or reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher. For permis- free guides and utilities for VMware users. He is sions or reprint information, please contact Renee Cormier, also writing a book on building a cloud with Director of Product Management, Data Center Media, TechTarget (rcormier@techtarget.com). VMware vSphere as the foundation. ENTERING THE PRIVATE CLOUD 12
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