Feet in the Data Center, Head in the Cloud

Bill Cole

Bill Cole, Competitive Sales Specialist,Information Management, IBM

I love computer hardware.  You know, walk in the data center and hear all those fans whining, lights flashing, disks spinning.  Home and mother.  My domain.  I can explain how each and every one of them is used – except for a few in the racks over there.  You can almost feel the electricity flowing through the transistors.  In a big computer room, you can’t hear yourself think – or anybody talking.  So there’s some benefit to all that hardware.

Go back to the desk and someone needs a new environment.  Hmmm.  All my servers are busy, that’s what my spreadsheet says.  Well, not so much busy as dedicated to some application.  Maybe two servers per application.  Or more.  Plus the disk space.  Oh, and they need this new environment when?  Tomorrow?  It’ll take that long just to pull all the resources together.  Installing all the software will take another few days.  And my staff is all booked.  Situation normal.  And the CEO is waiting because this is mission critical.  This is why you never stopped communing with the silicon even as a manager.  Go ahead and jump in!!  Super Geek to the keyboard!

Is that scenario anything you’ve encountered?  It happens every day.  And it’s happening more often.  Your data center is sized for what you know will be needed, plus a bit for expansion.  But you can’t support a whole new application in Production in a few hours.  You don’t have the compute resources of the disk space or the network bandwidth.

Alternate scenario: You need to expand Production but just for a month.  I mean you need to add Christmas-shopping scale to the environment.  Buy more hardware?  In your dreams.  Rent it?  No way.  Just finding a place to put the stuff in the data center will be a major victory.  And then you have to test it!  Or you could hope it works as expected and doesn’t take you off the air for a day or two, what my wife calls a resume-generating event.

What’s a data center manager to do?  Enter the cloud.  We are definitely in the era of the virtualized workload.  (I love the concept of workloads, not just applications or servers.)  There’s a number floating around that says more than 70% of all workloads are virtualized.  Those virtualized environments are just perfect for the cloud.  The same study tells us that the normal utilization for physical servers is less than 20%.  Talk about wasting resources.

Isn’t this a DB2 blog?  Yup.  We know DB2 runs extremely well in the cloud.  We do a great deal of our product testing using our internal cloud environments, not just dedicated servers.  That’s pretty cool, not to mention being a tremendous example and endorsement of the cloud concept.

As it turns out, IBM has the tools to guide you through the whole cloud process from concept to configuration, migration and running those workloads.  We have some products, too, that might be of some help.  I wrote about patterns last time and discussed how they can speed your deployment process, taking minutes instead of hours.  PureApplications and the PureData products offer you the quickest road to your internal cloud.  Of course, you can use your existing hardware to start building that same cloud and use your existing licenses.  What changes is the way you think about the mapping of servers to applications and workloads.

If you’ve got Power systems and AIX, then you’ve got LPARs so you’re good to go with virtualization and the cloud.  Designate an existing server as the basis of your internal (private) cloud.  Start adding servers and workloads to expand it and then start connecting to other clouds establishing your hybrid deployments.  And you can use a public cloud for those times when you need some temporary power to support expanded workloads or to build a home for that more than immediate need.

But we’ve got some guidance for you.  Take a look at CCRA (which is a lot easier to remember than Cloud Computing Reference Architecture) and set your course for your own private cloud.  CCRA will guide you through the intricacies so you’ve thought the whole thing through, from provisioning, security and deployment.  We want you to be successful.  It’s in our mutual best interest, after all.

Since we’re talking about DB2, let’s consider DBaaS, database as a service.  Hmm.  Interesting, eh?  Build a system for housing your database systems.  Make it easy to provision and manage your database needs.  We’ll talk about this next time.  Great concept for making your users happy sooner…..

Finally, distinguishing between the types of clouds can be a bit tricky.  Private, public, or hybrid.  Want an easy to remember them?  Use this dating analogy, if you like.  Private = my place.  Public = your place.  Hybrid = connecting rooms.  Well, that’s my suggestion for what it’s worth.  If you make up your own variation, let me know.

DB2 with BLU Acceleration on the cloud. Take a sneak peak at the early access preview today!

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3 Responses to Feet in the Data Center, Head in the Cloud

  1. You are great ,sir. Nice blog.

  2. Jill Provencal says:

    Wonderful blog – I was nodding YA the entire time!

  3. Excellent post. I wanted to also add that if anyone in the data center industry is interested in exploring some great solutions for data center infrastructure management, have a look at this software for your DCIM management needs.

    - Gary

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