Welcome to the private cloud

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1 Welcome to the private cloud Use concepts from the public cloud for your own datacenter openqrm white paper Release date: 02/07/ All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 1

2 Introduction Cloud computing has, in the recent past, gone from a hype to a viable alternative for companies to design their IT infrastructures and environments more flexibly, and thus improve their own agility. Early adopters were preferably start-ups who jumped on the bandwagon in order to take advantage of the easy way of procuring resources of the public cloud. Thus many, partially well-known, young enterprises meanwhile number among customers of public cloud services, who would not be able to implement their business models without such scalable infrastructures. The public cloud demonstrates weaknesses Following an evaluation phase, established companies have likewise discovered the movement for themselves, and are showing interest in infrastructures, platforms and software from the cloud. Market Research Media [1] is anticipating a growth in the cloud computing market of up to USD 270 billion by However, the concerns of CIOs of established companies about using public cloud services within the scope of using their live systems run high. Besides the uncertain legal situation and the concerns in regard to data privacy, in particular the fear of losing the company data, as well as losing control over it, in the public cloud comes to the fore. Over 80 per cent of respondents of a Mezeo survey [2] expressed their concerns on a scale of one to ten with an eight. Ten, here, stood for having the greatest concerns. Current alarming discoveries, such as the "PRISM" program of the US intelligence service NSA, undermine confidence and the hard-earned trust of larger companies in public cloud services. Thus, within the scope of the "PRISM" program, US authorities are granted extensive access to data of customers worldwide who use cloud computing services such as facebook.com, Amazon AWS or Apple's icloud - naturally without informing or even obtaining the explicit consent of the user. These findings are likewise reflected in a global Gartner survey. It emerged from the latter that 75 per cent of decision makers will, by 2014, choose to develop their strategy on a private cloud, instead of a public cloud solution. In that respect, as per the survey the main aim consists in drawing the greatest benefits from the virtualisation for the company. A KPMG survey [3] among 400 German companies supports the outcome of that survey. Accordingly, the experiences of around 60 per cent of respondents with private cloud solutions have been positive. Twenty-one per cent wish to systematically invest in this field in future. In that respect, nineteen per cent of the entire IT budget is invested in private cloud solutions, usually in infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). In 2013, one third of decision makers plans to invest 26 to 50 per cent of the budget in the private cloud. Approx. 90% of German decision makers are, according to the survey, not interested in public cloud services All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 2

3 Data privacy, compliance and data leaks are not everything Even if only the above-mentioned topics are considered, it becomes clear why established companies are being more cautious about heading for the cloud. Start-ups, on the other hand, seem to be more relaxed about it. Their structures are still very flexible. In addition, they first of all have to find out in which direction the business model is heading, which is why they initially seek cost-effective options to support their idea. Data privacy, compliance and data leaks are, however, not the only topics that cause concern among decision-makers. Server down situations with well-known providers of cloud computing have led to discussions on data security and the availability of the cloud infrastructures. On average, a cloud provider guarantees 99.5 per cent availability via its service level agreements. Converted, this corresponds to down time of 4.38 hours per year or minutes per month or 5.04 minutes per week. However, the last service outages have shown that, with many providers, such quotas cannot be achieved, and the availability is actually around 99 per cent. That corresponds to down time of 3.65 days per year. The private cloud combines the best of both worlds A private cloud is not to be equated with a non-public version of the public cloud. It is up to the company, and not an external provider, to attend to the operation and administration of the infrastructure. Due to its private nature, the access to the cloud infrastructure may even be designed as restrictively as desired. In addition to the company's own employees, partners, suppliers and customers are given access via a virtual private network or their own public platforms. Private clouds combine the best of both worlds. On the one hand, there is the scalability of the IT resources and their flexible nature, as well as the self-service for the company's own employees and projects from the public cloud. On the other hand, however, there is also the securing of data privacy, compliance and data security in the companies' own IT infrastructures in the datacenters. The private cloud fundamentally changes the internal IT infrastructure. In that respect, self-service portals and billing systems are only two new approaches by means of which IT resources and IT services can be better organised, administered and allocated. Thus, a company no longer needs to be statically limited to functions defined in annual schedules, but gains the opportunity, through improved resource allocation, to achieve greater flexibility in regard to both existing and new IT resources. Employees, projects and the entire company, thus acquire greater agility. IT resources, such as virtual servers and databases, right up to complete applications, can be accessed on demand. And that is no longer within weeks or months, but in minutes. New business sectors and ideas can be developed and taken to the marketability stage more rapidly All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 3

4 IT departments are put in a position to provide the infrastructure necessary, as required, and shut it down it again. That affects the scalability of the companies' own infrastructure, in that existing resources can be better utilised. In addition, through a hardware pool that is managed in a loaddependent manner, the company can make great savings on energy costs and reduce its investment in cooling and fan systems. Design the IT infrastructure more cost-effectively The basis for cloud computing, and thus also the private cloud, is consolidating hardware resources based on virtualisation. Thus, companies can reduce their overall costs in their own datacenter by up to 40 per cent. Twenty-five to thirty per cent of these costs alone are attributable to reduced power consumption and lower investments in cooling systems. As a result, the objective of "green IT" can also be pursued better. Classic datacenters needed to be laid out on an exaggerated scale, in order to be able to supply adequate IT resources, even at peak times. In the annual mean, however, only a maximum of 20 per cent of such capacities are required. The remaining 80 per cent are unproductive. The virtualisation alone is not, however, sufficient. Only with a maximum level of automation and standardisation of individual services can the expected benefits be achieved, and costs reduced. Due to virtualisation, a datacenter no longer needs to be designed in such a way as to be geared towards expected maximum load. Through the scalability of the private cloud, the necessary resources are provided to the corresponding divisions in an automated and flexible way. Subsequently, any resources not required for the moment are shut down again. In that regard, the possibility of the scalability of physical machines should also be taken into account, by servers that are not needed being on standby in the off state if they are not required. Solely through the latter, in practice up to 30 or more in cost savings is often achieved. This operational efficiency increases with the size of the private cloud. In short, with a private cloud economies of scale can be optimised, the capacity utilisation of the entire IT infrastructure improved, and costs saved on a grand scale. Improving the agility of the entire company The private cloud has the potential to optimise, link and speed up all the technological and operational processes. Even greater efficiency can be achieved if all sub-systems involved, such as the provision of virtual machines, DNS, the network, IP, monitoring, high availability, backups/restores and compliance documentation is fully automated. In addition, there is the fact that the private cloud makes access to resources possible based on self-service portals, and thus enhances the company's capacity to come up with innovations. That way, employees can access information and applications quicker, whereby they are put in a position to swiftly analyse 2013 All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 4

5 information and take immediate decisions. With access to the data that is independent of location, the productivity of every single employee is, moreover, increased. The private cloud ensures that the IT infrastructure can be operated in an optimised way, whereby the system load can conveniently and promptly be adjusted at peak times. Thus, successful advertising efforts can be implemented, monthly and annual financial statements prepared on time or seasonal highs in the workload confronted, and the hardware necessary for the job can be fired up as required. The scalability of the private cloud ensures that the resources required are automatically adjusted, whether it be computing power, storage space or applications running. It works exactly the same way with the company's ability to produce innovations. Every new initiative requires resources, staff as well as the supporting IT in the background. Here, the private cloud shortens the process of evaluating new ideas or the time-to-market period, by the necessary IT resources being available on demand. The private cloud furthermore promotes better collaboration on the part of employees, and optimises the co-ordination with customers and partners. Within the company, the private cloud ensures close interlocking of processes and systems, and directly involves employees. That ensures more efficient collaboration. In the external communication with customers and partners, the private cloud is a platform through which seamless collaboration is enabled. A further benefit of the private cloud in comparison to a classic IT infrastructure consists in the internal cost allocation. Usually it is not easy to define exactly which project, which department or even which employee has used which resources, and for how long. Private cloud solutions already come with this functionality, often directly. Via integrated monitoring and accounting systems, it can be determined exactly how the IT costs are distributed throughout the company. In summary, the private cloud improves the company's agility, leads to a greater capacity for innovation, and ensures seamless communication between the employees, partners and customers. Your very own private cloud Once the first steps have been taken into the private cloud, first of all it is necessary to optimise, standardise and automate everything. The technological basis for a cloud is virtualisation. In that way, the resources and services are provided dynamically and on demand. The first tasks therefore consist in virtualising the datacenters and optimising the infrastructure at the same time. In order to ensure that it is possible to subsequently make the private cloud scalable, the physical resources, i.e. the server and storage space, need to be unified the smart way. Should certain virtualisation technologies already be in use, the compatibility with cloud management solutions should be verified, for a changeover to other hypervisor-based virtualisation platforms is not always either possible or desired All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 5

6 Subsequently, the processes and services need to be standardised. The latter serves as a basis for enhancing the quality, and especially always delivering exactly the same quality. Only with standardised processes can resources foreseeably be provided to the user on demand. Finally, the processes and services need to be automated. A self-service portal should be made available to the user, via which the user can access and manage the necessary resources, such as virtual machines, complete software stacks and applications, independently and as required, and also disable them again. During the entire life cycle of the systems requested in that way there should be no necessity to have to take up contact with the IT department. Such automation leads to optimum capacity utilisation of all resources. In addition, special accounting systems or integrations into ERP systems can, moreover, assist in correctly allocating the costs incurred during use, and providing and explaining them transparently to the end user. The hybrid cloud links both worlds It should be considered, in connection with the private cloud, that going with this form of cloud is not a dead-end street. On the contrary, private and public clouds blend in very well with one another. They can be established alongside one another, and, ideally, even perfectly aligned with one another and optimally integrated. Thus, the company's own private cloud resources can, for example, if necessary, be extended by public cloud resources within the shortest period of time, without the company even having to invest in any additional physical machines and software. Assuming a suitable cloud management system is available, resources such as virtual machines or applications can be migrated to public clouds or scaled during live operation. Payment is made directly to the public cloud provider, based on usage. Companies gain access to a worldwide, virtually unlimited public cloud infrastructure of global providers, designed for a decentralised setup, and can thus make use of many times the capacity of their own hardware, at any time, on demand. Control the private cloud The theoretical promises of a private cloud solution always sound tempting. However, a solution for developing a cloud-enabled infrastructure always has to be able to live up to expectations. In that respect, besides the "must have" functions, part of the package consists in extremely important properties that may not be lacking and which ensure the success of the private cloud. A very significant point is the area of automation. The provision of the required resources via a well-designed self-service portal marked by appropriate usability for the end user cannot be managed manually. The same applies in regard to backing up or restoring data. Only based on 2013 All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 6

7 automated processes, which either respond to events entirely autonomously or are initiated manually via a portal, can modern IT infrastructures be controlled today. The monitoring within a private cloud infrastructure, the complex documentation of the company IT or an automated network and DNS management system belong to the challenges of daily operation. An accounting system automatically calculating the consumption of resources and allocating it to the corresponding cost centers should never be forgotten. When it comes to the topic of extreme availability, things get very delicate. The latter can usually only be implemented in a very intricate way, and it is very expensive in the case of private clouds. Also in this case, the focus has to be on automation. Should a lot of requests have to be attended to unexpectedly, the private cloud infrastructure software needs to be in a position to fully use up the available resources. Besides upscaling and downscaling the virtual resources, providing the necessary physical servers with the help of automated power management by means of Wakeup- On-Lan and IPMI forms part of the package. Thus, physical machines not required should be turned off and only fired up when required by the cloud infrastructure software. It should be mentioned at this point that even the private cloud relies on physical machines, the number of which is finite. In order to ensure that such a limitation is ready to cope with high peak loads, the cloud software should be compatible with other public and/or private clouds, in order to be able to supply one's own cloud with external resources at short notice. A much discussed topic is the vendor lock-in, i.e. the dependence upon a provider that it proves tricky or very expensive to get away from. The problem is not even reduced by the emergence of private clouds. On the contrary, the complexity increases, depending upon the provider. One way out is private cloud solutions based on open source software, consistently using open standards, and the availability of documented APIs or interfaces in the cloud management software. Plan your private cloud from A-Z Automation, scalability and reliability are the main characteristics of cloud computing. The mere virtualisation of a given infrastructure by no means makes it a private cloud. Be sure to identify all processes and systems involved, and ensure simplification and a reduction in the complexity. In that way you will be laying a foundation for smooth operation of your private cloud and benefit from the associated subsidiary aspects when it comes to standardisation of resources and services. Finally, give your employees access to the IT resources via a self-service portal, and thus increase the productivity, satisfaction and flexibility throughout your company. Sources All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 7

8 Contact OpenQRM Enterprise GmbH Berrenrather Straße 188c Cologne Tel. +49 (0) Fax: +49 (0) Web: Author Christoph Möller is co-founder of openqrm Enterprise GmbH, manufacturer of the datacenter management und cloud computing suite of the same name. He looks back on more than 15 years' experience in the fields of web hosting, system architecture and UNIX administration All rights reserved openqrm Enterprise GmbH, Cologne Page 8

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