6 Common Challenges Of Cloud Implementations

6 Common Challenges Of Cloud Implementations

Private cloud—as an approach to IT operations—calls for organizations to transform their data centers, including the network. Using strategic points of control to aggregate and dynamically provision IT resources can help organizations meet network-related challenges and move past the hype to successfully build, deploy, and secure private clouds

Challenge #1: Service-enabling the infrastructure

Service-enabling the infrastructure is necessary to automate and ultimately orchestrate operational tasks and processes, respectively. Service enablement is a challenge because there is a lack of standardization within the infrastructure demesne. While many components today are enabled with a control plane API or SDK and have standardized on XML and web services, the depth and breadth of these access methods vary widely and often require skills not commonly found in IT operations today.

Furthermore, these APIs and SDKs are often very granular and specific to the infrastructure component technology. Common operational tasks may require multiple API calls, with each infrastructure component requiring a different set of calls with its own unique terminology. The creation of a VLAN, for example, can require very different service calls on a switch than a load balancer requires. These differences necessitate not only product-specific expertise, but strong knowledge about development tools and methodologies, as well as networking. This makes it difficult to find people with the right mix of operational and development skills to service-enable the infrastructure.

Challenge #2: Integration with provisioning and orchestration engines

Achieving true elasticity requires the orchestration of multiple components within the data center. Provisioning or decommissioning an application instance is but the first step in a much more comprehensive process that involves load balancing, acceleration and optimization, security, and networking components across the infrastructure.  Equally important to elasticity and automated deployment are triggers that initiate provisioning and decommissioning of application instances. These triggers generally act upon thresholds set by business and operational requirements for performance and availability, and thus need metrics against which such thresholds can be evaluated. Not only is it necessary to have visibility of metrics, but the means by which those metrics can be communicated, such as triggers and integration with reporting systems, must also be enabled.  The most common way to address this challenge is by integrating infrastructure components with provisioning and orchestration engines. While such integration handily addresses most of this challenge, it raises others. Not every component is integrated with every provisioning and orchestration engine. Careful consideration with respect to the integrations available for infrastructure components is required to ensure this critical support is not overlooked.

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