Controlling Complexity In Converged Infrastructure

Controlling Complexity In Converged Infrastructure

Converged Infrastructure

Converged infrastructure is very similar to an Airbus 380 – it has a tremendous amount of capacity, but there is no way a human can control it without the help of a very sophisticated control system. And just as this type of control system is relatively new to aircraft, the control system required to manage converged infrastructure is equally new, and very different from the tools and processes used to manage legacy infrastructure. This isn’t because complexity is anything new – data centers have always been extremely complex. It is because this new complexity is different – what was physical complexity is now becoming virtual complexity, and components and connections that were once in plain view for people to see are now becoming sealed in what is, in some cases quite literally, a black box.

This shift in complexity is underscoring the need to revisit several aspects of IT management, some of which need to improve and others which until now have been completely ignored:

Policy – Every IT environment has a purpose, and to fulfill that purpose, it must behave in a certain way. This includes how well it must perform, what level of availability it should offer, how it deals with security and data protection, how it manages multi-tenancy and resource sharing, and so on.

In legacy physical environments, and even early virtual environments, these criteria were not actively managed, as the environments were too static to warrant it. But in converged infrastructure, these management criteria must be formalized into proper policies, and these policies need to be clearly defined and actively controlled. Failure to do so will result in “workload anarchy”, where there is no clear authority over the operation of the environment.

In this sense, policies can be thought of as the contract between supply and demand, setting clear operational goalposts and protecting workloads from each other through tightly controlled rules of engagement.

Bookings – Virtual and cloud environments are much more dynamic than their physical predecessors, as they allow the deployment and decommissioning of workloads with greater frequency, higher speed and lower friction than ever before. When this is combined with converged infrastructure, which often provides a tremendous amount of capacity in a single unit, this pipeline of activity is concentrated. This makes managing what is coming into and leaving the environment critical to maintaining control.

Without visibility into upcoming demand, you are forced to estimate requirements and waste capacity (or worse, risk running out). An analogy is useful to demonstrate this: if physical environments are like houses and virtual environments are like apartment buildings, then clouds are like hotels, and clouds build on converged infrastructure are like very large hotels, with extremely busy lobbies. A good reservation system is essential to establishing the necessary control over bookings and available capacity, and while one wouldn’t dream of managing a hotel without a reservation system, IT is currently lacking in this area.

Analytics – The sheer amount of data created by management and monitoring tooling for these systems can overwhelm even the best infrastructure manager. Compounding this challenge is the flow of workloads into and out of them, and the operational policies required to govern them – and it is extremely difficult to understand what is required to proactively head off capacity and performance risks and understand infrastructure requirements.

Increasingly complex decisions about how much capacity is required, how to allocate resources, where to place workloads must be made more and more frequently, making it clear that the manual ways of making decisions will not survive. In fact, some speak of an “analytics revolution” being ushered along by the move to cloud and the shift to convergence. This not only provides the control system referred to in the airplane analogy, but when done properly can transform the way IT environments are managed.

Operational data, policies and bookings can be used in predictive analysis to gain insight into the future that isn’t otherwise possible. This allows IT managers to shift from a reactive mode of fire-fighting to a proactive one, in which they spend less time “just keeping up with things” and more time “getting ahead of the curve”.

Convergence provides many benefits, but in virtually every advantage there exists management challenges that must be addressed. Rather than see this as a negative, however, organizations should see these as an opportunity to revolutionize the way they manage infrastructure.

By adopting new ways of thinking and new-school control systems, humans can effectively tame the new complexity and take control over their converged infrastructure.

By Andrew Hillier, CTO and co-founder of CiRBA

Andrew has over 20 years of experience in the creation and implementation of mission-critical software for the world’s largest financial institutions and utilities. A co-founder of CiRBA, he leads product strategy and defines the overall technology roadmap for the company.

About CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading authorities in connected technology information and services.

We embrace and instill thought leadership insights, relevant and timely news related stories, unbiased benchmark reporting as well as offer green/cleantech learning and consultive services around the world.

Our vision is to create awareness and to help find innovative ways to connect our planet in a positive eco-friendly manner.

In the meantime, you may connect with CloudTweaks by following and sharing our resources.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Comics
Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Three Challenges of Network Deployment in Hyperconverged Infrastructure for Private Cloud

Hyperconverged Infrastructure In this article, we’ll explore three challenges that are associated with network deployment in a hyperconverged private cloud environment, and then we’ll consider several methods to overcome those challenges. The Main Challenge: Bring Your Own (Physical) Network Some of the main challenges of deploying a hyperconverged infrastructure software solution in a data center are the diverse physical…

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks: The Top 8 According To ENISA

Cloud Security Risks Does cloud security risks ever bother you? It would be weird if it didn’t. Cloud computing has a lot of benefits, but also a lot of risks if done in the wrong way. So what are the most important risks? The European Network Information Security Agency did extensive research on that, and…

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Staying on Top of Your Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security Responsibilities

Infrastructure-as-a-Service Security It’s no secret many organizations rely on popular cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft for access to computing infrastructure. The many perks of cloud services, such as the ability to quickly scale resources without the upfront cost of buying physical servers, have helped build a multibillion-dollar cloud industry that continues to grow each…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Connecting With Customers In The Cloud

Customers in the Cloud Global enterprises in every industry are increasingly turning to cloud-based innovators like Salesforce, ServiceNow, WorkDay and Aria, to handle critical systems like billing, IT services, HCM and CRM. One need look no further than Salesforce’s and Amazon’s most recent earnings report, to see this indeed is not a passing fad, but…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…