The cloud isn’t perfect. There are still outages, challenges around replicating pieces of an environment, and even confusion around all the different kinds of services that cloud can provide today. Fortunately, the entire cloud model is becoming a bit easier to understand and deploy. Why? There are simply more use cases for such a powerful architecture.
Businesses of all sizes are quickly realizing that their direct competitive advantage may very well revolve around the capabilities of the cloud. However, with that in mind, what should organizations of various sizes do about physical resource requirements? What about infrastructure expansion? Most of all, what are the limitations of your cloud?
Let’s take a look at four important considerations when it comes to creating your own cloud architecture and understand the environment around it.
- Physical resource requirements. Even in hybrid cloud environments, physical resource considerations must be made. Costs need to be kept in check, and planning around the physical resource requirements is very important. By knowing and understanding all previously discussed cloud requirements, administrators are able to create a more solid plan around what their infrastructure will actually need. Remember, under or over provisioning resources can be a waste of precious budgeted dollars. This is why it’s important to know what the cloud environment will be doing, how it will be accessed, and what workloads will be delivered. To maintain a good level of understanding into a cloud environment, organizations will have to use tools for visibility into their cloud-based infrastructure.
- Cloud data center limitations. Just because resources are located in the cloud, it does not mean there are endless amounts of them. This is where “out of sight, out of mind” can become a serious issue. When planning and balancing resources it’s important to understand the limitations of a cloud deployment. That is, how many users can a single physical host handle? Or understanding WAN link limitations to prevent possible network-related bottlenecks. Pay-as-you-go models can get very pricey as well if administrators improperly provision resources without really understanding their use or benefits. A good cloud resource balancing plan will include maximum capacity considerations for all vital cloud components. This includes WAN, storage, and physical server limitations. By knowing how much an environment can handle, IT managers are able to plan around these limitations and develop a plan where extra resources can become available when needed. This is a big difference between having resources sitting idle and not doing much versus deploying cloud resources when the need arises.
- Infrastructure expansion. The goal of any organization is to grow and be more efficient in their business practices. IT plays a big role in this and cloud computing can certainly help. When planning out and balancing resources, it’s important to plan for business expansion. With growth at the organizational level, IT managers must keep up with the demands placed on their environment. Instead of pointing users to an existing local data center, plans might be made to re-route new users to a cloud environment. This is a great example of where a private or hybrid cloud deployment can be very powerful. By using WAN-based resources, corporate IT staff are able to deliver entire centrally managed workloads to users all over the world. The best part is that these users don’t require a local data center to be fully productive. With infrastructure expansion there is the further need for visibility. The more granular the view into a cloud environment, the better the resource management. Agile cloud platforms are able to scale up and down as needed mainly because administrators know exactly what resource they have available. Effective cloud growth can only come with solid cloud resource balancing and distribution.
- Workload utilization. Cloud environments will vary greatly. Some organizations are simply giving users access to a few applications, while others are delivering entire desktops via VDI. The workload type holds a lot of weight in how cloud resources are managed and distributed. Again, this is where visibility plays an important role. Depending on what is being pushed down to the end-user, resource management will have to be carefully monitored at the cloud level. This means constantly watching cloud usage spikes, how resources are provisioned, and where potential bottlenecks are occurring.
There are many reasons to move to a cloud-based environment. Organizations looking to leverage cloud computing already have a certain goal in mind with what they want to accomplish. There is a mind-shift occurring amongst young IT administrators from a single datacenter to a distributed cloud ready infrastructure. When properly sized and balanced, organizations are able to use cloud technologies in an efficient manner to achieve business objectives.