Boxes of cloud
There's a new approach to building clouds that is growing in momentum
Blogs | 12 Apr 2012 :
It seems the flavour of the month in enterprise IT is pre-engineered, pre-configured and pre-tested/validated kit to build your own private cloud.
Oracle, VMware, Dell, HP and Cisco have all made offerings in the area of late, and going beyond the idea of simply dropping a container to be connected up to the mains and the network, the offerings are for everything from specialised storage to database and BI and analytics appliances.
The advantages are obvious. The people who know the hardware best build matched kits for the most common workloads and roles, which entails a fair amount of optimisation too. Then a customer asks for some specific customisation before buying and this further ensures compatibility and performance.
It all makes sense and it takes a lot of the guess work out of building private or hybrid cloud infrastructure. This pre-engineered approach also allows much faster deployment times as a certain amount of the testing and proof of concept has been done already.
However, the really important thing about this approach is the fact that the manageability and scope for orchestration and automation is increased massively. Whether it's leveraging the new self-awareness of the latest generation of servers from HP and Dell, or the increased level of integrated instrumentation in appliances, the result is that when in place, these pre-engineered solutions can be managed more easily and made to work more effectively by fewer human resources.
Looking at the big picture then, these pre-engineered, pre-configured and pre-tested systems can be acquired and deployed quicker, managed better and orchestrated and automated more effectively than before which tackles several of the key sticking points for many companies when looking at going the cloud computing route. Firstly, organisations can leverage the vendor's expertise to ensure that the right solutions are put in place on which to build. Secondly, there is the confidence of knowing the solution will work, despite massively reduced deployment and test times. And finally, there is the knowledge that there will not be an increased need for personnel or upskilling to manage it all.
In answering so many questions around moving to the cloud for organisations, these systems seem to be the timely answer to the various nagging questions that have perhaps held organisations back from fully engaging with cloud computing.
And with recent announcements around Cisco and NetApp aiming a new range of their FlexPod solutions at lower entry points in the market and rumours rife around EMC's upcoming announcement, it would seem that everyone is betting on the pre-engineered route as the way to move swiftly and confidently toward private cloud.