Gartner has recenty predicted that by 2020, a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. CIOs will increasingly leverage a multitude of cloud computing providers across the entire IT stack to enable a huge variety of use cases and meet the requirements of their business unit peers. Indeed, the tides are shifting toward a “cloud-first” or even “cloud-only” policy... 

Marc Wilczek

Multi-Tenant Provisioning System For Cloud Based Backup Services

Multi-tenant provisioning system for cloud based backup services

The Problem
Backup and storage vendors find many of their users backing up their systems to cloud using their proprietary backup software, but the issue was that each of those users had to register and provision systems on the cloud provider themselves. This was a huge risk with the backup vendor to rely on the user’s knowledge of the cloud systems and its usage in addition to the added risk of having a disbursed bill for the different services. The users get two to three different bills from the cloud provider as well as the backup provider at the end of each cycle. The solution was to have a multi tenant auto provisioning system where users come in and register one time and the backup provider maintains a multi tenant provisioning and recovery system for all their users.

Why Multi Tenancy?
Multi tenancy increases efficiency if it can be scaled. In a cloud environment it’s a reality and the scaling is taken care of by the cloud provider. In a cloud management system where the tenants are users of an automated provisioning system, the scaling is on the management of the cloud resources provisioned by the users. One can deploy SOA based architecture using Windows workflow foundation solution using a web console. This will enable the user to provision, de-provision and manage their resources online and be able to secure their resources using firewall settings on the provisioning console. The provisioning system sets a workflow in place for each of its activities and the final result of the workflow is communicated to the user through an email or a web update. The activities in the workflow are governed by the type of resources being provisioned like a system or an IP or an additional volume. The workflows trace back and de-provision the resources in case of a crash or issue at any level in the workflow. As the users scale web services, load balancing was used to balance the request load using DNS round robin. Strict security is maintained at all levels of the architecture with SSL requests to all ports and certificates used for inter port communication. Resource usage is billed to each user based on the runtime and volume usage.

What is difficult in the multi tenant mode?
The workflows are the difficult part in a multi tenant provisioning system. Getting the proper workflows designed and deployed is critical to these applications. The time taken for each activity in the workflow has to be estimated and proper wait or loop mechanism implemented for cases where provisioning a resource takes extra time. Workflows are stateless and once the request is sent from the web layer to the business layer where the workflow resides, the response to the web layer will be sent from any of the activities in the workflow. A send mail activity caters to sending the provisioned resource information back to the user.

The cost advantage
The management service provider gets the advantage of provisioning the cheapest resource from the available pool for any cloud provider but this can be scaled to other cloud providers in a seamless manner. The user in turn has the advantage of having a single portal to manage all their resources. Time taken to provision systems and security are lessened with the predictive and scheduled workflows. The cost advantage the provider receives will be passed on to their customers as they scale.

By Anup Pal, Vice President, Global Solutions and Support & VinodKumar Panicker, Manager, Product Development Services of Symphony Services

Symphony Services is a leading global specialist providing software product engineering outsourcing services. The company’s focus on Engineering Outcome Certainty™ drives R&D results that shorten time-to-market for new products and delivers greater innovation to compete in a global marketplace. Independent software vendors (ISVs), software enabled businesses and companies whose products contain embedded software partner with Symphony Services to achieve their business goals.


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