Key Cloud Strategies: First Steps
Brian J.S. Chee and Curtis Franklin, Jr.
When any organization is looking at adopting a new technology, success
comes from proper planning, and clouds aren t an exception to this
oft-ignored rule. The temptation is to do a physical-to-virtual migration
just by "jumping into the deep end of the pool." Here the fallacy is that
the virtualized server can t be that much different from a physical server.
Well, yes and no: It can feel the same, but there are some differences that
could potentially bite you. Here are a few that we've stumbled across:
- Licensing. How does your software vendor count CPUs? The VM
might only have a single CPU assigned to it, but that blade might
have something in the range of a half-dozen cores. Since virtualization
is still new, the end-user license agreement (EULA) might not
have a clause to accommodate the VM having only a single core
assigned to it.
- Licensing 2. Does your software license even allow you to run it
under a virtualized environment? If so, does the EULA allow you to
run it on a single physical server or a single server instance? If it is
by physical server, make sure the vendor hasn't updated its EULA,
because many are catching on that they've left loopholes open that
may allow users to run multiple copies of their software as long as all
the virtual machines are all on a single piece of hardware.
- License dongles:. Some pieces of software require a nice little USB
dongle to be present in order for them to run. The unfortunate
fact is that not all those license dongles can be replaced by a license
server, and for those you'll need to get a USB network server such
as the USB Anywhere networked USB hub by Digi.
- Licensing servers. You really need to be careful in adding up the
virtual machines you'll have to run. In order to accommodate some
licensing schemes, you might end up setting up yet another VM just
to handle licensing. Even the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Data
Center edition might need one if you have certain types of bulk
license agreements in place. (Windows 2008 Data Center edition
seems to need an activation server for more than 25 machines)
- Not every OS will run under a virtualized environment, and not
every release will either. We ran into a case where version 4.x of
Debian Linux ran just fine under Microsoft Virtual Server 2005,
but 5.x didn't. Since it isn't officially supported as a guest operating
system, this customer ended up having to move to CentOS instead
- Server throughput. This is a massive "gotcha," and the blog-o-sphere
has been buzzing like mad about how VMs are sooo much slower
because of those extra layers of abstraction. While not always the
case, the truth is that you might find yourself doing a bunch more
tuning on the virtual server than you did on the standalone. While
not necessarily bad, it is a new line item in your project timeline.
Xen keeps bragging that it's the fastest VM system around, but to
date we've not seen any hard facts to support this. Considering the
lack of real reviews in the trade press, we're not sure how long we're
going to have to wait for quantitative VM speed comparisons.
So far, we've been talking about what clouds can and can't do (yet), and
how to codify expectations in service-level agreements. We've also talked
about the pressures that are exerted on cloud implementations by security
and regulatory compliance issues. We haven't yet dealt with questions of
planning horizons and how the current and most likely future versions of
cloud infrastructure might work within realistic planning ranges. Cloud
computing is no different than any other IT technology in many important
ways that we've already discussed, and the need for proper planning
is certainly a key arena in which there is no difference.
As with any strategic IT technology, clouds are tools that may or may
not fit your needs. As with any new strategic technology, clouds should
be thought of in both the long and short terms, and how the migration to
the new technology will affect your long-term and short-term operational
costs in relationship to the perceived return on investment. The real key
is to ask the same question at every step along the way: "Does this really
make sense for our organization?"♦
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Taylor & Francis LLC. Copyright © 20082011 Taylor & Francis LLC. All rights reserved.
This article is an excerpt from:
Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center
This book looks at cloud computing from an IT manager s perspective. It answers basic as well as strategic questions from both a business and a technical perspective so that you can confidently engage both IT and financial assets in making your organization techno- savvy, efficient, and competitive.
About the Authors
Brian J. S. Chee is one of the first 10 Certified Netware Instructors outside of Novell, Inc. Brian has seen networking evolve from the ground up having the viewpoints of manufacturer, distributor, reseller, and computer scientist. He worked in the latter role at the U.S. General Service Administration Office of Information Security (GSA-OIS), and now at the University of Hawaii School of Ocean and Earth Sciences and Technology (SOEST) as a researcher. As a Senior Contributing Editor to InfoWorld and a long-time member of the Interop NOC team, Brian has a unique insight into networking trends and the emergence of new technology.
Curtis Franklin, Jr., has been writing about technologies and products in computing and networking since the early 1980s. A Senior Writer at NetWitness, he also contributes to a number of technology-industry publications including InfoWorld, Dark Reading, and ITWorld.com on subjects ranging from mobile enterprise computing to enterprise security and wireless networking. He is also online community manager for the Interop conference. Curtis is the author of hundreds of magazine articles, the co-author of three books, and has been a frequent speaker at computer and networking industry conferences across North America and Europe. When he's not writing, Curt is a painter, photographer, cook, and multi-instrumentalist musician, and is active in amateur radio (KG4GWA), scuba diving, and the Florida Master Naturalist program