The New Era of Clouds and Systems of Engagement and Impacts to Systems Management
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In this blog I want to provide my view about clouds and the new systems of engagement and how these are changing the IT Industry and the way we manage and use IT resources. Let’s talk about answers to questions like:
What are the expectations and key requirements for managing clouds and applications in systems of engagement? What are the key aspects of these changes and their effect in IT, systems management solutions and monitoring in particular?
Cloud Computing is an irreversible change in the IT industry. Clouds are enabled by virtualization and the ubiquitous internet. Coupled with high-bandwidth networks and massive network based storage systems, they provide the backbone of cloud computing. Cloud represents a strategic area with lots of business opportunities as more and more customers introduce virtualization in their environments. This enables a more dynamic and responsive IT infrastructure that can offer services to users in a more dynamic, flexible and efficient way. This transition is changing the way users and enterprises think about IT and how they use IT resources.
This attractive new market also presents challenges. In this new model the players involved and the application life cycle is very different from the traditional ones we are used to in IT. This is a totally different landscape and management tools must be able to deal with the new model in order to be successful.
The various types of users expect to get something from this new model:
o The Application Developers want a flexible, dynamic, easy to use/access, lightweight and non intrusive environment where they can continuously develop and try their applications. They want to be able to choose the development environment and tools and change them as they see fit.
o The Application Owners/Application Support teams do not have deep IT skills and are only interested in their applications. They care less about the intricacy of IT infrastructures and technologies. They want a low cost, low footprint and highly available environment where they can focus on their applications, have fewer expenses on debugging problems and expect lower application down-time which altogether reflects in higher revenue.
o The Application Users in general expect easy access from anywhere and at any time using their devices of choice, including mobile devices. They expect their applications to be always available and accessible, resulting in more efficiency.
In the systems of engagement using cloud model the users expect the IT environment and tools to support a set of important requirements and characteristics:
o From user perspective there is a higher level of end user abstraction from the environment. A low touch approach.
o A much more dynamic IT environment with redundant characteristics is required where workloads are in many cases short lived or can move quickly anywhere in the environment
o There is a need for lightweight and less intrusive infrastructures that enables fast and quick deployment of infrastructure alongside consumers’ workloads.
o A more homogeneous environment where workloads can easily run and/or move to any other parts of the infrastructure is a must providing customers a cost effective environment
o Multi-tenancy is critical as it enables secure sharing of resources and costs across a large pool of users thus allowing for better efficiency in a secure environment
o A scalable and elastic environment is a very important aspect as it enables dynamic provisioning of resources on a fine-grained, self-service basis near real-time, without users having to engineer for peak loads
Even though each type of user/customer has specific needs depending on his/her role, there is one point in common to all of them that is critical to their business – making sure their applications are healthy. All of them want to be able to understand the health of their applications and if they are getting the support they expect and need from the IT infrastructure they chose to rely on. Of course the level of monitoring and what each one is interested on may differ but monitoring is a key component of the overall experience in this new model. The requirements and characteristics above set the base for what the monitoring solutions will have to deal with in order to be successful and provide customers an efficient tool in this new landscape.
In future blogs I will talk about how these challenges and opportunities should be approached and how solutions that embrace these changes, like IBM’s Open, Elastic and Pluggable monitoring, will be able to provide the right solution for customers that are running their applications in this new landscape.