The demands for IT infrastructure has changed dramatically since the debut of cloud computing. Today’s IT infrastructure is no longer just “a bunch of servers” hosted in the customer’s or the service provider’s datacenter. Instead, it typically requires complicated environments comprising hardware, software, and network products. For example, a private cloud environment is a dedicated IT infrastructure that includes networks, storage devices, and servers, with hypervisors and other software deployed to enable cloud capabilities.
Correspondingly, our customers’ demands for managing infrastructure also have changed. Their request to “Help me manage my servers” has become “Let me manage my apps only” or more simply put, “Please take IT off my hands, and let me conduct my business!”
Making private cloud infrastructure more dynamic
In response to this plea—so that customers can maintain focus on their business— private cloud infrastructure must be dynamic:
It must meet changing business needs while controlling costs.
It must be reliable enough to host critical workloads.
It must stay in compliance with security regulations.
Thus, a cloud service provider needs to offer proactive day-to-day monitoring, as well as complete management of the cloud lifecycle. This need for monitoring and management is not limited to initial cloud deployment. It also must include cloud configuration changes, upgrades, responses to customer issues, and so on.
For this purpose, IBM Bluemix Private Cloud relies on Box Panel, its own cloud management portal. Box Panel provides full-service operation, eliminating the difficult work of cloud management for customers.
3 ways Box Panel helps
Box Panel provides a visual “dashboard” view of the customer’s inventory. It lets customers inspect their concurrent resource usage, so they can respond to business demands and optimize expenses quickly and efficiently.
Box Panel provides a single point-of-contact for technical queries and ongoing support. IBM staff members provide 24×7 support for customers through Box Panel. For example, customers can start a chat conversation with online experts, either to ask questions or to raise specific issues. Customers also can submit a ticket on Box Panel, and have their request addressed quickly by IBM Bluemix Private Cloud experts. If problems are detected, a known resolution can be triggered, and messages can be directed to support experts immediately. The team of experts provides services through the full lifecycle of the cloud—starting at the beginning with commissioning, and including deployment, configuration changes, regular upgrades, expansion, bug fixing, and decommissioning.
Box Panel facilitates network management for the IBM Bluemix Private Cloud operations staff. When a network configuration request is initiated, the operations team can understand the network topology across different cloud instances and datacenters. Within Box Panel, operations teams are shown hands-on options for creating, updating, or deleting the subnets and IP addresses, upon request by customers
Example of a Box Panel customer cloud dashboard
To summarize, by using Box Panel, IBM Bluemix Private Cloud lets us optimize our customers’ mission critical workloads, while our customers never need to worry about the supporting infrastructure.
IBM Cloud Schematics is a tool that uses Terraform to provision and manages infrastructure resources, Cloud Foundry applications, services, Kubernetes clusters and much more using the code in a configuration file(s).