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Moving to a Private Cloud? Infrastructure Really Matters!


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The Cloud is a near- perfect metaphor for consuming, providing, and managing virtual resources (“VRs”). Unfortu-nately, providing and managing VRs is not without challenges and, sooner or later, virtual resources have to be mapped into real infrastruc-ture – one in which physical assets need to be managed and optimized.

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Moving to a Private Cloud? Infrastructure Really Matters!

  1. 1. Moving to a Private Cloud? Infrastructure Really Matters! SM SM Navigating Information Technology HorizonsPublished Since 2007 Report #TCG2012001LI January 25, 2012 Moving to a Private Cloud? Infrastructure Really Matters! Analyst: David Reine Management Summary The 21st Century has dawned with many new concepts altering the ways we live, including the ways we travel. We are learning that there is more to flying than just the schedule and the ticket price. The first revelation deals with the changing paradigm of service within the shared resource of an air- plane. There used to be two classes of service: First Class and Coach. Now each airline has a travel program with assorted perks and more classes than your average university. This multiplicity of choic- es includes offerings in each of first-class, business, and coach. We used to take the quality of service (QoS) on our flights as a given. If you travel in First Class, you got more legroom and seat width for comfort, a better meal, and free drinks. In coach, you got less legroom, a more mundane meal, and you had to pay for your adult beverage. We did not have to worry about getting to the airport two hours early, gate security, and baggage fees. We now are learning about special services that are available from the airlines (and TSA) to help us to adapt to this new paradigm. We can sign up for an airline credit card and have some baggage fees waived. There are express lines at security to enable first-class passengers and frequent flyers easier access through the maze. We can even pay extra to sit in an exit row or on an aisle. Furthermore, the airlines have upgraded their fleets were more energy-efficient en- gines (to lower the total cost of operation) and twin-aisle aircraft (to increase the number of passengers per flight and doubling the number of aisle seats), all to increase revenue. We are also learning that there are multiple options for the things that we do every day, like storing our important digital images. We can do this in a photo album, digitally on our PC or tablet, or on the Internet in an amorphous, shared resource known as The Cloud, relieving us of the necessity to buy and manage our own private storage resource. Merriam-Webster defines a cloud as “a visible mass of parti- cles of condensed vapor suspended in the atmosphere of a planet.”1 In the world of IT, however, we have adapted that concept, creating “compute” and “storage” clouds, changing the “visible mass” to a “trans- parent mass of resources”, and changing floating in the atmosphere to “moving at lightning speed across the Internet”! A public cloud could be anywhere or even distributed to many unknown locations. You do not need to know nor do you really want to care. The Cloud isn’t about locality. It is about quality of service delivery, cost, and whether the services consumed satisfy our objectives. In fact, many of us may already be using a public cloud, unwittingly, via accounts with Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. For the enterprise, you need to select the right QoS to mit- igate the inherent risks or you face the problem of losing data and the ability to execute operationally. Thus, the Cloud provider has to know and care IN THIS ISSUE about the reliability and security intrinsic to the environment. Cloud computing has become a  Data Center Infrastructure Concerns.... 2 model for the enablement of a shared IT resource,  The Clouded Future ............................... 4 consisting of servers, storage, networks, operating  Characteristics of “Good” Cloud Infrastructure.......................................... 5  What Type Of Cloud Do You Need? ...... 5 1 See  Conclusion ............................................. 8 The Clipper Group, Inc. - Technology Acquisition Consultants Internet Publisher  One Forest Green Road  Rye, New Hampshire 03870  U.S.A.  781-235-0085  781-235-5454 FAX Visit Clipper at  Send comments to
  2. 2. January 25, 2012 Page 2systems, critical applications, and services.  Accelerate time to value (for applica-These elements of a common pool of IT re- tions and data);sources can be deployed rapidly for use by the  Enable the users to gain near-imme-community with a minimal amount of manage- diate, on-demand access to IT re-ment effort or interaction by the provider of the sources; andcloud service. Cloud computing is becoming an  Enable a new (and better) IT-deliveryimportant transition, and a paradigm shift in the business of IT services – one that promises large However, these goals will be hard to delivergains in efficiency and flexibility at a time when upon without the proper planning for the longdemands on data centers are growing exponen- term. The Cloud provider needs to keep thetially. The tools, building blocks, solutions, and “big picture” in mind and you need to ensure that you are happy with that set of services andbest practices for cloud computing are evolving, promises. Remember that you are responsibleand challenges to deploying cloud solutions need for attaining goals over the short and long terms,to be considered. i.e., you are responsible for assessing and man- It is easy to see why The Cloud is a near- aging the risks of your cloud strategy.perfect metaphor for consuming, providing, and The amount of IT infrastructure is rising –managing virtual resources (“VRs”). Unfortu- not for just the enterprise data center, not for justnately, providing and managing VRs is not the mid-sized data center, but for every datawithout challenges and, sooner or later, virtual center. Many enterprises are building massiveresources have to be mapped into real infrastruc- infrastructures, running hundreds or even thou-ture – one in which physical assets need to be sands of servers with petabytes of data distribut-managed and optimized. ed over multiple tiers of storage and often across Thus, The Cloud2 may be a panacea for vast distances. If there is a failure in the infra-some, but for others, it is real work that structure, as has happened repeatedly in 20113,needs to be done (where “the rubber meets you will rapidly understand why the quality ofthe road”, so to speak). If that point of fric- infrastructure matters.tion is what you do for a living (i.e., you man- With the continuing growth of applicationsage and optimize IT infrastructure) then you (in terms of quantity, complexity, and IT re-can’t assume away the issues of real assets, sources needed to run them), with the growingno matter how many times you use that expectations of users (to analyze and do more in“cloud” word each day. If this rings a familiar less time), and with unstoppable growth in databell, then please read on to learn why the under- (to be stored, protected and made availablelying cloud assets really matter, especially to when and where it is needed), the demands forenterprises but also to many smaller businesses, IT infrastructure have never been greater, andas well. will continue to grow. Thus, it is not surprising that the concept of and hopes for The Cloud toData Center Infrastructure Concerns “come to the rescue just in the nick of time” are Whether you use a private cloud (owned or omnipresent.leased shared physical IT assets) or public cloud There are two ways to look at this phenom-(rented virtual IT assets), The Cloud needs to be enon. Either it is an illusion that promises sal-able to provide sufficiently high performance vation from the depths of disaster (i.e., a “uni-and high availability (i.e., be capable of meeting versal panacea” for all of IT’s ills) or it is a hopethe expectations for Service Level Agreements with some real merit, as long as attention is paid(SLAs) for the user communities). The IT re- to the details (i.e., somewhere along the chain ofsources must be scalable, in order to meet daily IT responsibility).4and seasonal needs, and it must be easy to de-ploy and manage. Almost always, it also is pre- The Cloud as Panaceasumed that The Cloud will: Pardon the sarcastic tone, but it must be nice  Cut IT expense, thus lowering the to- to be a Cloud Believer, whose mantra might be tal cost of ownership (TCO); 3 2011 saw crashes occur to the largest clouds, including Google Docs, Microsoft’s Office 365, and Amazon’s EC2.2 4 In this paper, “The Cloud” will be a high-level concept for This will be discussed further on the next page in the sectionIT resource delivery. entitled The Cloud as Real Work.Copyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  3. 3. January 25, 2012 Page 3summarized in this way: cy-driven automation.  I don’t want to sweat the details. If your requirements are so simple (or, may-  Just give me (and my colleagues, be, just so mundane) that you can’t imagine partners and customers) the IT re- thinking about the underlying issues, then may- sources that we need, when we need be you have no choice but to believe that your them, and in sufficient quantities and solution is in The Cloud and that you can afford qualities to satisfy our needs. what it will cost to buy your service delivery  Let someone else worry about procur- there (i.e., somehow you hope that it becomes ing, delivering, managing and opti- more affordable as your volume of business ac- mizing the IT infrastructure (re- tivity (and data) increases). Nonetheless, if IT is sources) and data where and when not a necessary core competency for your busi- they are needed. Just give me access ness, make sure that you rely on partners you to my applications and data in a can trust over the long term (to cover your back properly-secured, “just-in-time” fash- when you are looking the other way). For al- ion. most every enterprise, large or small, an Internet  Oh, by the way, do all of this for the presence now is essential for success. same budget as last year, which really If your requirements aren’t so simple or means do it for less, because there is mundane or even if they are, but the quanti- more to do this year: do it with more ties and volumes of work and data are very concern for quality and protection, large, then you need to “stick your head un- and the need to do it for much more der the hood”, because infrastructure really data, as well. does matter. Whether you are doing a private cloud, a public cloud, or a hybrid cloud, the un- If you are sensing a healthy level of skepti- derlying infrastructure is important to you, be-cism, you are on the right track. All of this cause:might be possible, if every piece (of infrastruc-ture) easily fell into place, if the glue that holds  It may enhance the likelihood of get-it together is strong, flexible, and not too costly, ting done what is needed (to enter-and if someone takes responsibility for doing all prise expectations).of the hard work, including optimizing across  It may reduce the direct (asset) costsmany objectives (not just cost of delivery, but and indirect (administration, network-also qualities of service, protection, and coupled ing, energy, and floor space) costs forwith continual cost improvements). Someone which you must pay (directly and/orhas to do the real work of delivering, manag- indirectly).ing, and optimizing the virtual resources. If  It may affect your ability to growyou, as a Cloud Believer, want to place that re- when you need to grow, without suf-sponsibility elsewhere, proceed knowingly and fering growing pains.carefully! Otherwise, the only optimization that Back to Realitymight result may be the flow of cash from your If cloud infrastructure really matters, howpockets. and why does it matter? When you look underThe Cloud as Real Work the hood of a car, today you find more than an If you made it this far, then you have a engine. It is now a system, maybe better calledhealthy sense of skepticism about what it takes “an integrated system”. It is hard to tell whereto make all of The Cloud’s hopes and dreams one set of components ends and the next begins.into a functioning and affordable business reali- We all know, of course, that not all of the com-ty. This is somebody’s “real work”. Even if ponents are interchangeable. We also care veryyou outsource all of the IT resource supply, little about each of the components (individual-provisioning, delivery, and management, you ly). What matters is the integrated system.need to know that someone is sweating all of the Does it solve our problem? Does it get usimportant details. The problems and challenges where we want to go, in a manner that satisfiesmay change (with time and application of new expectations? Rest assured, many designersmethods and technologies), but they do not ever and engineers have put the solution together togo away (i.e., the challenges only evolve and work as a whole. They are sweating the detailsnever really disappear). We just handle and for you, so that you just can get in and drivemanage them better, increasingly through poli- away. Conversely, if someone does not coverCopyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  4. 4. January 25, 2012 Page 4all of the details, you are exposed to a potential For IT infrastructure, you seek the bestdisaster. ways to deliver the needed “transportation”Virtualization and Consolidation (the IT resources that get the app, data, Most of us have been through two sets of and/or user from here to there, or from starttactical IT campaigns – consolidation and virtu- to finish) while satisfying a myriad of re-alization. First came the consolidations of serv- quirements. If you think that there is no differ-ers, storage, and networks. We consolidated ence between the underlying integrated deliveryservers for many reasons, but especially because systems (in terms of resulting effectiveness andof the availability of more powerful servers (that efficiency, while satisfying business (SLA) re-needed to be shared to be economical). We quirements), then you should leave the drivingconsolidated storage and networks to reduce to someone else … and take what results with avast excesses in provisioning (i.e., a lot of re- smile. Otherwise, you need to look for the bestsources were over-allocated and not being used) infrastructure (in that integrated system underand to make them more sharable. the hood). This means thinking both technolog- ically and economically. Think of it in terms of Virtualization aided us in these consolida- a possible paradigm shift. If you are going totions. It allowed us to run many applications on change your economic model for IT infrastruc-a server (by allowing partitioning of the cores, ture delivery, you need to look at the overallprimarily), thus lowering the cost of delivery to delivery system (the functioning whole) and theapplications and users. Storage virtualization involved components (the building blocks). Ifallowed us to share disparate resources in mean- you don’t think this is necessary, then go backingful ways, both by tiering and by the homoge- to Page 2, reread “The Cloud as Panacea”, andnization of heterogeneous devices. Network call it a day. Otherwise, read onward to learnvirtualization allowed for load distribution and how and why cloud infrastructure matters.sharing. All of this virtualization made thephysical resources easier to manage.Doing IT Better The Clouded Future OK, this is your present reality. Now, you Weather analogies aside, your IT futurewant to do it better. Better, in this case, means will be clouded and transparent. Cloud think-differently. No, you don’t want to abandon con- ing is not new, even though the term seems onlysolidation and virtualization but you want to to be several years old. It is about sharingdeliver them differently. Maybe a good exam- pooled resources … transparently and securely.ple of this is the change can be found in the au- It is about separating logical resources fromtomobile industry and the quickly multiplying physical resources. This is true for both serverset of options in how we buy transportation. resources (processing power), storage resources Yes, we have many choices: traditional en- (tiers of storage), and networking resources (thegines (gas and diesel), hybrid engines, and all- data highways). All of these resources are madeelectric propulsion systems. Is one inherently transparent (you don’t necessarily know wherebetter than the others are? Of course, this is a they are physically located or how they arecontinuing debate, but each has its strengths and shared) by virtualization.weaknesses. However, none of them really The hoped-for economic advantagechanges the paradigm of driving. However, you comes from not over-provisioning (over-could change the ownership experience and get allocating) resources in advance of theira ZipCar, when you need one and only for as need, without any apparent detriments thatlong as you need it. For some, this makes eco- come from sharing a pooled set of physicalnomic sense. Alternatively, you could take pub- resources. Usually, there also are many sav-lic transportation (rail, bus, or taxi) or let some- ings to be had by less laborious (or even fullyone else drive you around (say, in a chauffeured automated) provisioning. Always present arelimousine). issues of control and analyses of benefits and The Cloud is a different IT resource de- costs. Sharing of resources is good, as long aslivery system. Private, hybrid, and public everyone gets what they expect (including ade-clouds are like cars and buses; there are ad- quate separation among those sharing the re-vantages and disadvantages to each. You have sources).to know what advantages you seek and how you The Cloud can be an ideal way to deliverwill mitigate the corresponding risks. application services, to improve IT efficiencyCopyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  5. 5. January 25, 2012 Page 5and flexibility, and to lower the TCO of that across the network.service delivery, but these will be realized Most public clouds do not meet all of theonly if sufficient attention is paid to the en- requirements of the enterprise because they can-terprise‘s requirements and the infrastruc- not provide all of the business- and mission-ture details. Using The Cloud for your IT in- critical SLAs. Therefore, many enterprisefrastructure should be transparent, but this is data centers will need a private cloud uponmore than a statement about separation of logi- which to build or host an application set andcal views from physical reality. The Cloud higher quality of service infrastructure tomust be transparent operationally, i.e., ser- support these critical applications. However,vice delivery requirements and economic ex- some applications are well suited for the publicpectations must be met. If it works, but not as cloud, especially where the requirements are notoperationally expected and/or at a much higher mission-critical.cost per unit of operation, then the situation isbleak for everyone involved. Thus you have to The Need for an Enterprise-Class Cloudproceed with more than good intentions … you While The Cloud may represent the deliveryneed to make sure that you know enough to en- of IT services, it still requires a solid infrastruc-sure the outcome. ture foundation to provide the automation, flex- ibility, management, provisioning, performance, If your business is looking for choice and scalability, virtualization, and lowest cost peralso to control the cloud capabilities required in use in an on-demand environment. The Cloudits environment, there is an essential set of char- infrastructure needs to include virtualized serv-acteristics that constitute the foundation of The ers, along with shared storage and networkingCloud. These characteristics must all be pre- devices. Most enterprises utilize multiple appli-sent, to some degree: reliability, performance, cation tiers, from commodity applications suchavailability, and security. By definition, a pub- as file and/or print services, to business-criticallic cloud must be designed to support a wide applications such as email and advanced analyt-variety of user requirements; thus, it usually is ics, to mission-critical business applicationsmore generic in nature than a private cloud, such as ERP, manufacturing, database, etc.which can be designed to support the specificrequirements of a single enterprise, business unit A good Enterprise Cloud needs to have aor even a specific application. Some business solid architectural foundation, in order to beunits will need to control their own cloud re- able to mitigate availability issues before yousources, in order to receive the services they require backup and recovery services. The abil-require and not some universal blueprint that is ity to survive an availability interruption is cru-presented as a one-size fits all cure-all! cial. When you consider a Cloud, check with the vendor on the reliability, availability, andCharacteristics of “Good” Cloud serviceability (RAS) of the infrastructure. The-Infrastructure se RAS functions should be built-in and not bolted on, to ensure a good integration amongDoing the Hard Stuff these critical services. The resources must be To make this happen, The Cloud requires a flexible enough to meet the changing needs of asound virtualization platform and an equally growing enterprise. The Cloud must be able tosound virtualization management capability to address all of these tiers.control virtual resource sprawl and to provide These are important services and the Enter-the functionality that the enterprise requires for prise Cloud must also be able to provide the fol-its critical applications. This might include a lowing.high-availability SLA (for quietly failing over toother equipment, for non-disruptive data mobili-  Backup and disaster recovery ser-ty along to other storage (near or far), and for a vices – reducing the impact when asimplified management environment, to ensure disaster strikes,service delivery). You will need to have a  Compression and data deduplica-sound risk-mitigation plan in place before de- tion services – to reduce the amountploying critical applications and/or data to The of data being transmitted and storedCloud, in order to ensure security within a mul- within the architecture and, thus, re-ti-tenancy environment. The Cloud solution ducing storage costs, andmay need some sort of identity federation, or  Data security services – to protectsingle-sign-on policy, in order to simplify access enterprise and customer informationCopyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  6. 6. January 25, 2012 Page 6 while at rest and in transit. community; PaaS, providing a Platform as a The data center needs easy-to-use system Service; SaaS, providing Software as a Servicemanagement tools to improve usability. Both to enable the data center to invoke cloud-basedmonitoring and management technology is ab- applications, such as security applications tosolutely essential in mission-critical environ- protect their data. The enterprise can deploy aments that demand high availability, such as private cloud dedicated to and operated by asupporting social networking applications, high single organization, a public (shared) cloud-performance computing, and more. This is es- owned by a service provider and available to thepecially true for environments where the user general public at large, or a hybrid cloud con-tends to be impatient. What will happen if you sisting of elements of run out of a critical resource? How easy will  IaaS provides the capability to deploy multi-it be to add additional resources? Your Cloud ple virtual machines (VMs) rapidly and tomust be flexible enough to adapt to the changing share applications and data between staff,business needs of the enterprise, dynamically. partners, and customers. It is the vehicle usedManaging The Cloud to demonstrate proof of concept rapidly, in Do you know which cloud services you re- order to get to value faster than the competi-quire? Do you need a public cloud or a private Some of the services that you need may  PaaS enables the IT staff to move applicationdepend upon a more robust infrastructure than development off-site, with a development en-provided by the typical public cloud. Hardware vironment. It can include multiple tiers ofvendors have extended their management tools servers (based on CPU type, GHz rating, coreand reliability features to include increased flex- count, memory, etc.) and can include a hetero-ibility. Let’s take a look at a variety of the char- geneous storage capability (FC, SAS, SATA,acteristics available in the cloud. etc.), enabling multiple tiers of storage (to op- The Cloud is as much a management or ac- timize the utilization of resources and lowerquisition paradigm as it is an architectural para- the TCO by using diverse storage infrastruc-digm, at least from the users’ perspectives. The ture with common access, management, andCloud can, and does, host applications to pro- provisioning, and offering a connection withvide on-demand self-service, broad network ac- enterprise data center storage devices).cess, the creation of a pool of shared resources,  SaaS is often referred to as an on-demand“limit-less” scalability (within reason), and a software service. It has a delivery modelmethod to measure and bill for the utilization of where both the application and its data arethese services. Most public clouds do not of- hosted on a centralized system, commonly infer useful QoS guarantees, which is why you the cloud, and accessed by users via a thin cli-likely will need a private cloud. Rarely does ent, through a web browser, over the buy a guaranteed response time from a pub- The Cloud should be federated (using stand-lic cloud provider. More typically, you are buy- ards to communicate between multiple plat-ing a slice of a server, memory, and storage and forms), automated (not requiring administratornetwork capacity. In most cases, you don’t even intervention for mundane tasks), and client-know what kind of server you are getting. For a aware (i.e., application aware). Moving towarduseful QoS guarantee, the data center needs to that more-complete end of the service spectrumdeploy a private cloud. The application set and will require a focus on three basic characteristicsdata that the IT staff wishes to run in the Cloud of cloud computing: efficiency, simplification,will determine which of these services is re- and security – and on solutions that use standardquired along with the type of cloud required. interfaces and are interoperable with each other.Not only are there different levels of service de- A successful cloud environment, consisting oflivery, there also are different qualities of ser- servers, storage, networking, etc., dependsvice delivery. These will make a big difference upon the success of the application(s) and/orin what is procured and what it costs. If you data that lives within the Cloud. That suc-want to pay the least, that is likely what you will cess depends largely upon the infrastructureget! upon which it is deployed.What Type Of Cloud Do You Need? Critical Success Factors The cloud can take many forms: IaaS, The critical success factors to that infra-providing Infrastructure as a Service to the user structure are clearly its performance, reliability,Copyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  7. 7. January 25, 2012 Page 7security, availability, serviceability, agility, and cess, it is important; as low-cost is essential.manageability. Some of these capabilities, such Higher qualities of service (like resilience andas security and guaranteed QoS, are the justifi- the ability to fail over to a remote location) willcations for deploying a private cloud. The end- cost more, but this may just be what your enter-user, whether employee, partner, or customer, prise requires.does not know from where the resources are In terms of storage, The Cloud’s infra-coming; they just need to know that they are structure must account for the self-provisioningreliable and secure. In fact, most, if not all, us- of storage resources through automation, itsers of The Cloud have no idea what physical compression, and smart allocation. It must alsoresources make up their cloud. To them, speed provide vendor neutrality in order to support aof access is important; location is not. Howev- heterogeneous mix of storage tiers, enabling theer, location can be significant to the data center migration of data from Tier-1 to a more efficientstaff responsible for viability and performance. or more performant tier, helping to improve the Data protection is one of the critical success flow or to lower the TCO. These resourcesfactors that are of prime importance for any en- must be virtualized across multiple arrays, ven-terprise that is utilizing the cloud for data stor- dors, and data centers – then pooled togetherage. The cloud must invoke a well-defined set and accessed from anywhere, compared to non-of policies to reduce, or hopefully eliminate, the virtualized enterprise arrays. It should have arisk anxieties of off-site data storage. This strong storage management capabilities that canneeds to be done in the planning phase for cloud automatically recognize usage patterns in thestorage, in order to create a firm basis from virtual disk and migrate the hottest (most used)which compliance can be implemented and data between tiers, from Tier-1 to SSD, for ex-monitored by the security-conscious enterprise. ample.The isolation of data and applications from other Storage usage should be paid for on ausers is critical in the deployment of a success- what’s-used basis; end users must be muchful cloud. The cloud must be able to customize more aware of the impact of their consumptioncapabilities according to the needs and priorities and service level choices. Finally, storage ser-of the enterprise. The cloud must enable all or- vices must be standardized, either done generi-ganizations to get what they need when they cally by tier of QoS or to a specific piece ofneed it. This includes protection from intrusion hardware and class of drives.and from simple data failure. In terms of networking, The Cloud shouldKey Requirements for an Enterprise Cloud provide a converged, high-performance net- What are some of the requirements expected work, designed to improve business agility andin all clouds? What do we really need to con- resiliency. It must have superior bandwidth tosider when deploying an enterprise cloud? The- support a myriad number of applications andse requirements can be categorized into three cloud migration activities. Networks are poten-infrastructure categories: servers, storage, and tial points of failure and the cloud must be opti-networking. mized for availability and a peak demand re- quirement. In terms of servers, The Cloud’s infrastruc-ture needs to be highly sharable and scalable Key Features of a Private Cloudwith regard to the number of threads per core Private clouds are being deployed by a vari-and the number of cores per CPU, in order to ety of enterprises looking to improve securityprovide exceptional performance to multiple behind their own firewall and to provide the en-VMs. It must be resilient and capable of full terprise-class services that they require. Theyutilization in terms of server resources in sup- are usually designed with a fit-for-purpose ar-port of the consolidation and virtualization of chitecture. They are being driven by the contin-critical applications, including both processing ually-expanding business demands on enterpriseresources and memory. Scalable memory may IT. More and more data centers find themselvesbe an essential requirement for application per- facing real limits, either from a lack of power,formance. The platform must be designed to lack of space, lack of network bandwidth, orsupport on-demand expansion, capable of han- lack of server capacity. Expanding the existingdling a large number of application iterations. infrastructure could perpetuate the significantWhile server acquisition cost is not the most problems facing the data center staff.important factor in the cloud acquisition pro- A private cloud can provide a “guaranteed”Copyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  8. 8. January 25, 2012 Page 8SLA to a variable supply of compute resources performance. Automated provisioning and fail-(up to the maximum available), something that over, along with charge-back, are features thatmay not be available from the provider of the may be required in an enterprise cloud.public enterprise cloud. It should have a cloud The Cloud provides the capability for themanagement system designed from the ground enterprise to grow through transformation. Thisup specifically for your cloud environment. The transformation enables a new delivery modeldata center staff may need to supplement the through the use of mobility within the cloud us-current systems architecture as it migrates from ing a solid foundation based upon a sound infra-an existing virtualized environment into a hy- structure. The most obvious expectations frombrid environment. the implementation of a cloud environment are The private cloud may need a layer of soft- reduced TCO, improved efficiency, and applica-ware on top of the existing architecture to facili- tion and data mobility. Whoever is providingtate the differences in existing servers, storage, the service must be driving cost out of the equa-and networking, and to enable scalability and tion, while ensuring that the QoS meets the re-on-demand access to cloud applications and da- quired SLAs. Nonetheless, the lowest-cost pro-ta. Most likely, it must be able to support a het- vider may not be meeting your QoS require-erogeneous mix of servers and storage arrays, ments. You need to make sure.virtualizing storage over a wide range of ven- Sharing the infrastructure goes one step fur-dors, including EMC, Hitachi, HP, IBM, ther than simply getting high utilization fromNetApp, Oracle, and others. This enables The virtualization. Now may be the time for yourCloud to utilize existing enterprise resources enterprise to rethink its business model. Nowand ensures that the solution architects can may be the time for your data center to changechoose the right tool for the job. Be wary of the paradigm of how they consume IT re-colleagues and vendors who believe one size fits sources.all when it comes to Cloud infrastructure for Whenever anything in the infrastructureapplication delivery. This infrastructure could fails, whether a private cloud or a public cloud,be driven by Windows, Linux, or a UNIX operat- the IT staff immediately looks for someone toing environment, or any hardware platform, blame. If you have used a heterogeneous ap-from x86 to Mainframe. The storage could be a proach for your private cloud needs to create amix of FC, SAS, SATA, SSD, even LTO-5 or competitive environment, you can also be sureenterprise tape for long-term archiving. of a lot of finger pointing. That is why some in the IT industry prefer to use a single vendor forConclusion their IT needs. Some refer to this as “one throat Cloud devices must be location independ- to choke”. However, some might see this as anent, deployed with standardized interfaces for indicator of failure! Something has gone wrongapplication flexibility. The cloud has to be reli- and you are looking at someone to blame. Onable, sustainable (easy to maintain), and secure the other hand, with a single source you canin support of a multi-tenant environment. The have “one hand to hold” to guide you throughcloud infrastructure needs to be capable of self- the potential quagmire of a system failure.service and be highly automated, including a Whichever approach you pre-capability for monitoring all resources and me- fer, you need to be sure of thetering system use. It must provide the right vir- functional integrity of the in-tual resources for the right application at the frastructure. The quality ofright time. infrastructure really does Flexibility demands that The Cloud support matter, as does attention tovirtual resource mobility in order to sustain a all of the requirements andhigh-level of application utilization and disaster details!avoidance. Thin provisioning, automated tier- The Cloud awaits, and application-integrated snapshot and Go for it and make it work formirroring are also essential components that are you and your enterprise. SMdependent on a sound infrastructure basis. TheCloud must include a centralized managementcapability, driven from a single pane of glass, tomonitor cloud health, capacity utilization, andCopyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.
  9. 9. January 25, 2012 Page 9 About The Clipper Group, Inc. The Clipper Group, Inc., now in its twentieth year, is an independent publishing and con- sulting firm specializing in acquisition decisions and strategic advice regarding complex, en- terprise-class information technologies. Our team of industry professionals averages more than 25 years of real-world experience. A team of staff consultants augments our capabilities, with significant experience across a broad spectrum of applications and environments.  The Clipper Group can be reached at 781-235-0085 and found on the web at About the Author David Reine is a Senior Contributing Analyst for The Clipper Group. Mr. Reine spe- cializes in enterprise servers, storage, and software, strategic business solutions, and trends in open systems architectures. In 2002, he joined The Clipper Group after three decades in serv- er and storage product marketing and program management for Groupe Bull, Zenith Data Sys- tems, and Honeywell Information Systems. Mr. Reine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University, and an MBA from Northeastern University.  Reach David Reine via e-mail at or at 781-235-0085 Ext. 123. (Please dial “123” when you hear the automated attendant.) Regarding Trademarks and Service Marks , , , , , , and “” are trademarks of The Clipper Group, Inc., and the clipper ship drawings, “Navigating Information Technology Horizons”, and “teraproductivity” are service marks of The Clipper Group, Inc. The Clipper Group, Inc., reserves all rights regarding its trademarks and service marks. All other trademarks, etc., belong to their respective owners. Disclosures Officers and/or employees of The Clipper Group may own as individuals, directly or indirect- ly, shares in one or more companies discussed in this bulletin. Company policy prohibits any officer or employee from holding more than one percent of the outstanding shares of any com- pany covered by The Clipper Group. The Clipper Group, Inc., has no such equity holdings. After publication of a bulletin on, The Clipper Group offers all vendors and users the opportunity to license its publications for a fee, since linking to Clipper’s web pages, post- ing of Clipper documents on other’s websites, and printing of hard-copy reprints is not al- lowed without payment of related fee(s). Less than half of our publications are licensed in this way. In addition, analysts regularly receive briefings from many vendors. Occasionally, Clipper analysts’ travel and/or lodging expenses and/or conference fees have been subsidized by a vendor, in order to participate in briefings. The Clipper Group does not charge any pro- fessional fees to participate in these information-gathering events. In addition, some vendors sometime provide binders, USB drives containing presentations, and other conference-related paraphernalia to Clipper’s analysts. Regarding the Information in this Issue The Clipper Group believes the information included in this report to be accurate. Data has been received from a variety of sources, which we believe to be reliable, including manufac- turers, distributors, or users of the products discussed herein. The Clipper Group, Inc., cannot be held responsible for any consequential damages resulting from the application of infor- mation or opinions contained in this report.Copyright © 2012 by The Clipper Group, Inc. Reproduction prohibited without advance written permission. All rights reserved.