Consolidate and Optimize your IT Infrastructure

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Organizations today face challenges that require a new approach to how IT is conceived and implemented. They need a dynamic infrastructure that reduces costs and generates more business value while …

Organizations today face challenges that require a new approach to how IT is conceived and implemented. They need a dynamic infrastructure that reduces costs and generates more business value while managing risk to the company’s information. Virtualization and cloud computing form an important part of this, unchaining logical resources from physical elements and redelivering them in a fluid fashion – whenever and wherever the organization requires them.

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  • 1. Consolidate and Optimize your IT InfrastructureOrganizations today face challenges that require a new approach to how IT is conceived and implemented.They need a dynamic infrastructure that reduces costs and generates more business value while managing riskto the company’s information. Virtualization and cloud computing form an important part of this, unchaininglogical resources from physical elements and redelivering them in a fluid fashion – whenever and wherever theorganization requires them. Many high-value business benefits follow: higher hardware utilization, higheruptime, lower energy costs, and faster IT response to business units.The initial benefits of virtualization – especially cost reduction due to physical consolidation efforts – aregenerally regarded as the one time benefits of an enterprise-wide virtualization effort, justified by asignificant reduction in capital expenditures (CapEx). Reducing the number of physical servers byconsolidating virtual servers results in more efficient and higher performing IT environments.Besides virtualization and cloud computing help in making IT infrastructure more environmentally friendly.Both run on the concept of on-demand scalability. Infrastructure scaling is available at your fingertips, on-demand. Increased computing power is available with increased load. After the high-traffic season the extraresources are released back. This brings about a drastic reduction in carbon overheads associated with idle,power hungry server farms running all year round.IT INFRASTRUCTURE CONSOLIDATION – RECENT TRENDSEach year the addition of new applications and increases in processing power, networking and storagecontinue to accelerate. Demands on IT managers to provide reliable infrastructure continue to grow further.At the same time, regulatory compliance demands more and better data protection, and globalization hasmade readily available data an indispensable competitive tool.IT budgets haven’t kept up with increasing application or storage needs. Fewer resources have to supportthese growing demands – compounded with limited data center resources such as floor space, cooling andpower and the challenges can seem insurmountable. Fortunately, advances in technology, includingvirtualization and the more recent cloud computing, are helping address these issues.Companies of all sizes are employing virtualization technology as a way to reduce costs and improve servicesto deliver a more dynamic infrastructure. A scalable virtualization environment is important for more reasonsthan just near-term benefits to business operations and the bottom line. The IT services industry is movingtoward new service delivery models including cloud computing. More and more organizations are pulling backservers and applications from remote branches to centrally house them in datacenters.THE MAIN DRIVERS FOR CONSOLIDATIONThe reasons to consolidate IT infrastructure are wide-ranging. Some of the key drivers are mentioned below:SIMPLIFY IT MANAGEMENTAs server sprawl increases, IT organizations are forced to spend more time on basic administrative taskssupporting, maintaining, and troubleshooting distributed resources. This inhibits IT’s ability to work on moreproactive, strategic projects to improve infrastructure and service levels, deploy new applications, and alignmore closely with the business. With fewer locations to support, and servers to backup and manage,consolidation leads to an increase in productivity for IT operations. It also allows for the best use of theavailable staff resources. Accordingly, fewer people are needed to manage centrally-controlled servers —resulting in lower operational expenses (OPEX) and improved staff productivity.COST REDUCTIONWith consolidation, IT organizations can reduce the number of a company’s physical servers and relatedinfrastructure overhead, resulting in a dramatic reduction in physical infrastructure costs. The cost ofpurchasing hardware as well as software licensing for servers previously located in remote sites is eliminated.In addition, organizations realize other cost savings in terms of floor space, power consumption, cooling, andmaintenance.DATA PROTECTION AND SECURITYConsolidation addresses many of the issues surrounding data protection and archiving. Data consolidationeliminates the need for backup infrastructure in remote sites and minimizes the number of people who have
  • 2. physical access to IT assets. As a result, companies can reduce the risk of data breaches and exposure toenhance their overall security posture.CONSOLIDATION AND SERVER VIRTUALIZATIONAlong with the IT consolidation trend, server virtualization has risen to the forefront of initiatives because ofthe multiple benefits it offers to IT in the form of: •Additional cost and power savings by eliminating server hardware •Increased resource utilization •Consistent test and production environments •Hardware independence through the virtual abstraction layer •Improved release times for new services •Enhanced disaster recovery capabilityVirtualization offers extensive opportunities for IT managers to fundamentally transform the operations intheir datacenters. Traditionally, servers at data centers operate at 10 to 20 percent of CPU capacity and arededicated for a specific workload to minimize incompatibilities and resource conflicts. Server virtualizationtechnology allows a single physical server to be partitioned into several isolated virtual containers for runningmultiple applications at the same time. By leveraging many virtual servers, organizations can drive up serverCPU resource utilization to eliminate idle capacity. This allows system administrators to consolidate greaterworkloads onto fewer servers, and provide substantial savings in space, power, and cooling. Apart fromconsolidating servers, virtualization also provides a solution to contain future server growth by deferring theneed to purchase new physical servers.Server virtualization is especially useful when deploying new IT services and applications. By creating aconsistent replica of development and production environments, IT organizations can complete testing ofapplications faster and speed up the release times of new services. In fact, the deployment of new servers isalso reduced dramatically by virtualizing the environment. This enables IT organizations to respond more
  • 3. rapidly to business demands for new applications and computing resources. In addition, the ability to snapshotservers, redeploy virtual machine images, along with hardware platform independence combines to deliverenhanced disaster recovery capabilities. In terms of DR, virtual machines can be recovered more rapidly thantraditional physical server builds, further reducing downtime and associated costs to create a more resilientdata infrastructure in the face of outages or failure events.Over a period of time, server virtualization and consolidation have evolved to a point where they havebecome almost synonymous with each other. Together, they simplify data centers while reducing costs andadministrative overheads.BENEFITS OF SERVER VIRTUALIZATIONPhysical Machine Virtual MachineDifficult to move or copy Easy to move and copy, provision applications Independent of physical hardware, isolated fromBound to a specific set of hardware other virtual machines running on the same physical hardwareOften has a short lifecycle Longer lifecycle, reduction in server costsDifficult to manage remotely Increased mobility, encapsulates data into filesRequires hands-on upgrading of hardware Insulated from physical hardware changesConsumes significant resources Reduction in energy and cooling costsManagement challenges Easy to manage, improved availability of applicationsVirtual server infrastructures offer powerful features for deploying and managing hundreds or thousands ofvirtual machines easily and efficiently.Strategically, server virtualization is an IT modernization catalyst that will change the way IT is acquired,consumed, managed, sourced and paid for. Virtualization will change the way businesses innovate and grow.If done well, server virtualization makes fundamental changes that can lead organizations on the path ofprivate and public cloud computing. Though, server virtualization is not the only path to cloud computing,cloud services will be offered at many levels of IT stack including applications (SaaS) and applicationinfrastructure service (PaaS).Virtualization technology and private cloud computing models are helping organizations transform and deployinfrastructure solutions that simultaneously meet cost, service quality, and agility requirements. Theevolution of virtualization into a private cloud solution also leads to significant improvements in agility andscalability.VIRTUALIZATION DRIVES MULTIPLE BENEFITS THAT VARY WITH THE STAGE OF ADOPTION
  • 4. As shown in the figure above, IT organizations typically begin in the IT Production phase by virtualizing serversin domains controlled by IT to achieve significant capital and operating expense cost efficiencies. Then theyexpand their use of virtualization in the Business Production phase to include business application domains –improving critical-business-system uptime and service levels – and they put more systems under the domain ofdisaster recovery. Finally, as organizations deploy private cloud solutions that pool computing resources into ashared and agile infrastructure, they can deploy an IT-as-a-service model that allows IT to quickly respond toemerging business opportunities.THE MOVE TOWARDS CLOUD COMPUTINGThe cloud concept takes virtualization a step further by enabling users of IT resources to avoid investing indedicated infrastructure. IT costs become a variable operational expense for business users because capacityis shared. Adopting this mode allows capacity to scale up and down dynamically and immediately in a mannerthat advances how virtualization is used today. The cloud model is designed to let companies use IT resourcesas a service, taking advantage of shared applications, processing and storage managed within the cloud –either inside a private cloud at an internal data center, or in an external cloud at a service provider.Today TomorrowServer virtualization is the major trend Cloud computing is the major trendVirtualization initially driven by hardware Driven by desire to benefit from IT resourcesconsolidation and the resulting savings in CAPEX, provisioned as a servicepower, spaceBusiness agility, disaster recovery and business Pay-as-you-go, ‘utility computing’ models allowcontinuity became additional drivers business users to avoid fixed costsVirtualization solutions are established; cloud Highly elastic, instant access to computing resourcescomputing solutions are emerging and IT servicesOverall, the requirement for IT expertise is still Virtualization and cloud solutions become maturesignificant for virtualization and internal cloudsManagement and monitoring capabilities are stilldeveloping Simpler deployment, use will make benefits broadly- Ongoing IT administration is required achievable- Policy making is not automated Management and monitoring come of age to reduceVendors have not implemented virtualization and requirements for specialized IT expertisecloud computing standards - Self-management - Automated policy-makingSecurity, privacy and compliance issues still to be Virtualization and cloud standards will increase easeaddressed for sensitive applications/services of deployment, reduce riskMost external cloud service level uptime agreements Appropriate best practices for security, privacy and(SLAs) are below mission-critical levels compliance will develop Enterprise users of utility computing will expect resilient cloud infrastructure and specify uptime as high as 99.999% for mission-critical applications and servicesThere are three common types of clouds: private, public, and hybrid. A private cloud is based upon a pool ofshared resources (whether mainframe, distributed, or virtualized), whose access is limited withinorganizational boundaries. The resources are accessed over a private and secured intranet, and are all ownedand controlled by the organization’s IT department. In essence, the cloud computing business model isbrought and managed in-house to enable shared IT services.A public cloud is a domain where the public Internet is used to obtain cloud services. The resources thatmake up those services are owned by the respective cloud service providers. Some examples includeSalesforce.com, Google App Engine and Google search, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon’s bevy of Web services.
  • 5. A hybrid cloud is a combination of internal and external clouds, where services from each domain areconsumed in an integrated fashion and include an extended relationship with the selected external serviceproviders.Public cloud services like Amazon, Google, Salesforce, et al drive cost down and scale up by trying to supportthousands, perhaps millions of businesses on their platforms. They centralize all of their services in a few datacenters around the world, and try to deliver global services – at acceptable performance – from theselocations. This is the purest vision of the cloud. It completely abstracts away all the complexity of dealingwith physical IT infrastructure. Due to thin-provisioning and virtualization, these vendors can present aseemingly limitless data center infrastructure at a low monthly cost.Private cloud services take the fundamental business and delivery model for public vendors and scale it downto delivering the computing capacity for an individual enterprise. For enterprises that have tens of thousandsor hundreds of thousands of employees, they may also reach the tipping point where they can cost effectivelyprovide the type of instant, seemingly endless computing and storage capacity that public vendors have.REASONS TO BUILD PRIVATE CLOUDS •Lower Capacity Pooling resources will let organizations reduce computing capacity by giving higher- priority tasks power during peaks •Reduce Overhead x86 servers and related resources in a virtual data center can be managed as a unit •Prepare A private cloud will help IT teams get ready for private-public hybrid clouds in the future data centerBy consolidating storage and applications, virtualizing infrastructure, and then providing acceleration tobranch offices and mobile workers, businesses are beginning to create private cloud services. In essence,businesses are taking their physical data centers and changing the way they manage the services that run outof that data center. In addition to overcoming issues of availability, security, and lock-in, organizations seeone other benefit to the private cloud model: dealing with sunken data center costs.Over time, businesses that adopt a private cloud model may more easily transition to a hybrid model that usesboth private and public cloud models. In fact, in a recent discussion with a top-10 engineering companies, theCTO looked at the public cloud as ‘flex capacity’ to support their private cloud infrastructure. As largeprojects come online, shift locations, or undergo other transitions, public cloud services may supplement theirinternal capacity to ensure that IT services are not a bottleneck to completing a revenue-generating projecton schedule.
  • 6. At a fundamental level, the value proposition promised by cloud computing remains much the same as forvirtualization: a means to reduce expenses and improved agility to meet changing business needs.CLOUD BURSTINGCloud bursting is the ability to leverage external cloud services on a short-term, as-needed basis. This is a wayfor an organization to extend its existing internal IT infrastructure or private cloud. For example, if yourequire additional compute capacity relatively quickly and for a short period of time, you could lease therequired capacity from a cloud service provider and end your agreement when this need subsides. This wouldbe typically useful around seasonal or event-based peaks of traffic that push the existing IT infrastructureover its capacity, but is not consistent enough to warrant additional hardware and software investment whichwould for the most part sit idle. The resources are acquired from the cloud service provider, secured,provisioned, and added to load balancers so that they then have the ability to take on the additional requests.This can happen on an approved, scheduled, or as-needed basis.MOVING TOWARDS GREEN ITVirtualization and consolidation are a step towards setting up a Green IT infrastructure. •Greening the IT infrastructure reduces power and cooling costs because the technology requires less energy and are more efficient than older hardware platforms •Greening means more efficient management of data centers, which means more cost savings •Green IT is composed of several technologies that all have the goal of reducing power consumption, overall data center footprint, consolidating locations and resources, and improving efficiency of operations.Consolidation provides a more flexible and efficient platform that helps reduce power consumption.Implementing virtualization technologies helps with consolidating environments and also provides theflexibility to use only the power required to run those virtual machines. Instead of multiple single serversdedicated to a single function, multiple workloads can run on one machine. Once physical servers have beenconverted to virtual servers, the data center will see the benefits of more efficient processing.CONCLUSIONVirtualization and infrastructure consolidation can offer significant benefits for both IT and businessoperations. The cost savings and administrative efficiencies are the main reasons why organizations arelooking to consolidate and move to a virtual infrastructure en masse.Virtualization is the key. Most companies’ first step on the virtualization path is to consolidate their servers,using virtualization to run multiple applications on each server instead of just one, increasing the utilizationrate of (and getting more value from) every server and, thus, dramatically reducing the number of serversthey need to buy, rack, power, cool, and manage. Leveraging virtualization to better serve users gives theorganization the obvious lower TCO, but also allows for accountability of usage, simplifies and meets theneeds of on-demand infrastructure requests, and allows for ability to serve, control and manage SLAs.Virtualization has played and will continue to play a huge role in cloud computing. It is the technology thathas allowed service providers to deliver lower-cost hosting environments to businesses of all sizes today.As the leader in virtualization, Netmagic Solutions recently launched its Cloud Computing services. With itsproven, reliable platform, Netmagic Solutions is committed to working with enterprises who want to buildprivate/internal clouds with the ability to coalesce to external providers to meet the changing needs of theirbusiness. Our virtual datacenter operating system enables private/internal clouds with features such as self-service provisioning, chargeback, and many other advanced automation and management features.Read more about- Datacenter, cloud hosting services, Dedicated Hosting services