Cloud computing has taken the IT industry by storm. With continued growth in data, we are seeing a growing trend of IT departments moving to the cloud. However, KPMG notes that for the most part, Australian businesses are still hesitant to make the move.
But they will need to do it soon. IDC predicts that data is estimated to grow by 240% between 2012 and 2014 in Australia. Gartner takes this further with its prediction “50% of enterprise-class data centres will be technologically obsolete within 24 months”. More than ever, it is crucial for businesses to have an understanding of private cloud.
Logicalis’ Solutions Architect, Rob Gee, clarifies some of the concerns around private cloud in this webinar – firstly explaining why people are moving away from the traditional data centre to the cloud and then, the steps to making that move.
Why are businesses moving to a private cloud?
Traditional data centres have several issues that build the case for businesses to gravitate towards the cloud:
1. Data centre architecture was built about 20 years ago without virtualisation in mind. Data centres are generally built on island / silos, which hold different technical components. With data growth come capacity problems. You will constantly need to invest in additional storage for different silos, incurring further cost. The premise of the cloud model is to pool resources such as CPU / RAM and deliver these services, eliminating such problems.
2. With these islands or silos, support can be tricky as there are too many components involved. Sometimes you waste time contacting different service centres only to find out you haven’t discovered the underlying problem. On a private cloud, these components are consolidated and it is much quicker and easier to identify an issue and fix it.
3. CIOs want predictability i.e., they always want to have potential future needs at the ready to work out cost, opex vs capex and budget. Traditional data centres don’t offer this predictability. Changes with silos usually happens on an ad-hoc basis and will not allow CIOs to do any forward planning or budgeting. With a private cloud solution, on the other hand, you have visibility of your current capacity and can forecast future changes.
4. Organisations are always growing and rarely delete old data. As a result, data continues to grow and traditional data centres require more capacity. Whilst you can always add capacity to these different silos, you will need to do more replication, more back up and soon end up with many different technologies to perform replication. This creates more complexities within your initial infrastructure. Private cloud, as an on-demand model, allows uniform scalability and avoid these risks.
5. Its an old saying that IT departments spend 70% of their time keeping the lights on and only 30% innovating. Gartner’s research suggests its even worse, finding 80 – 90% of a typical company’s IT budget locked in to non-discretionary funds or ‘business as usual’. Traditional data centres require considerable time and effort to manage, and leaves IT with little or no time for innovation. Private clouds are managed and supported by external providers, allowing you more time to focus on strategic and innovative business decisions.
6. Traditional data centres do not scale in a uniform manner. Even with consolidation, it is module-based. Essentially, if you continue with this approach, you continue adding capacity until you need to scale up to the next module, meaning large “chunks” of financial investment are required. Private cloud, overall, can scale in an efficient and uniform way.
What are the steps in migrating to a private cloud?
1. Standardise and simplify – reduce cost and increase agility
Virtualise and unify as much of your architecture as possible. This will significantly ease management, often reducing between 20 and 60 points of management down to just 5. Take all your network components and create a single management point, and do the same for storage and compute resources.
2. Cable consolidation – reduce cost and increase utilisation
In this second step, reduce the number of network connections. A typical server has nine cables coming out of it. With the number of servers some businesses have, consolidation will be complex. In the ideal unified network, each server is connected via single cable. You will also need to reduce modules / ancillary components and switch ports.
3. Storage efficiency – reduce cost and increase efficiency
In most cases, only 5% of a business’ stored data is active at any one point. Perform de-duplication and you may be able to reclaim 45% - 95% of your capacity. You can also perform thin provisioning and storage tiering. Auto storage tiering enables an organisation to structure its stored data in an optimal way. You can also make snapshot copies, thin replications or virtual clones to reclaim significant storage capacity.
4. Automation – reduce cost and decrease time to market
Virtualising the compute layer effectively transforms the CPU into ‘stateless’ processing power and memory. The processor can then be dynamically assigned to execute the task at hand. Stateless computing effectively does to hardware what hypervisors do to operating systems. This will result in far more rapid provisioning.
5. Uniform scale – reduce cost and provide linear scalability
Determine the capacity needed post the above steps and enjoy the flexibility. Private cloud allows businesses to scale in a uniform manner. As the business grows, they can add RAM or any additional capacity as needed. This removes the need for multiple networks and reduces cable count and switch port count. Of course there will be additional cost incurred to increase capacity, but this is overshadowed by the effectiveness gained.
6. Orchestration and management – spend more time innovating
With orchestration, you can quickly provision storage, network, compute and applications from a single pane of glass and enable services such as back up and replication. This will also enable IT to provide charge back and show back; giving you a true holistic view of the data centre and applications, as well as reporting on infrastructure utilisation.
The above steps aim to help you to transform your traditional data centre to a converged data centre, simplifying your move to a private cloud. To gain further understanding on private cloud, watch the webinar and refer to our whitepaper – Enabling Private Cloud.