Practically Speaking About Cloud Computing IT Infrastructure

Cloud Computing IT Infrastructure

Introduction: For more than two decades now, IT Infrastructure remains as the backbone of business. This business that we mention here can be a large enterprise or a small and medium business or a tiny business or even an individual’s business activity. There is no stopping of the part played by IT infrastructure. However, because of macro economic conditions, the way IT infrastructure is deployed is influenced by new forces. This is where cloud computing is coming in to the picture; and of course starting to play a major role! More than anything else, it (cloud computing) is perceived by those who are beyond technology as a new economic model. As we look at cloud computing development practically, let us see how IT infrastructure deployment is taking new shapes in enterprises.

Constituents of IT infrastructure: One of the major constituent of IT infrastructure is Server. In the past decade, there had been fivefold increase in the number of servers installed worldwide. In the year 2008, it is reported that just over 30 million servers were installed and available worldwide. This needs other constituents like floor space of data center, power, heating – ventilation – air-conditioning – cooling, and management including man power. The huge cost involved to set-up and maintain can be visualized here! Typical Server may comprise of computing hardware. Software including operating system / applications; Virtualization gets added to this in the past few years. For virtualization, we can consider a metric called virtualization density. The global virtualization density was around 5 in the year 2008; as virtualization is exploding now, the density is rapidly increasing. One IDC study predicts that in the years to come, the number of virtual servers will surpass the number of physical servers!

IT Infrastructure economics: There is capex – capital expenditure and there is opex -operational expenditure! The new economic model, cloud computing, seems to be affecting both. As we know, cloud computing comprises of three major tenets as Infrastructure as a Service – IaaS, Platform as a Service – PaaS, Software as a Service. The deployment models can be Public Cloud, Private Cloud. Depending on which model we choose, the capex and opex is affected. A recent Informationweek study states that enterprises are currently spending about 70% of their budgeted expenses on IT infrastructure operations and maintenance. Worldwide Spending on Servers, including the other constituents we saw above, the power and cooling, management/maintenance etc., was around $ 80 Billion in the start of the decade has now reached about $ 200 Billion now!

The other factors influencing IT infrastructure: While there are so many other factors influencing the trend of new economic model, let us mention two important ones here. One is to do with power and energy as we are getting more obsessed with Green concepts! The paramount concern of the day!! We are conscious of the Energy Star rating even in a small gadget that consumes only 12 V power, so we should understand the importance that we should give to such a big mass. It is stated that about 2% of power consumed in United States is consumed by servers. It is quite imperative that we go green in everything we do from now onwards. Another important factor is the condition of the present IT infrastructure. Most of them are aged and old! There is need to change them. They are consuming more floor space, more power and not suitable for efficient deployments. By efficient deployment we mean the time taken to provision IT gear to the user. Previously, if a server requirement for a new application is raised, it will take months before it takes to go live. Now it is done in several hours. That is the efficiency we are talking about.

In the next part of this article, let us see how Infrastructure convergence is developing to take shape…

By Glenn Blake

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