Five Myths of Private Clouds. White Paper

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1 White Paper

2 2011 Coraid, Inc. Coraid, Inc. The trademarks, logos and service marks (collectively Trademarks ) appearing on the Coraid website are the property of Coraid and other parties. All of the trademarks mentioned in this document are the property of their respective owners. Nothing contained in this document should be construed as granting any license or right to use any Trademark without the prior written permission of the party that owns the Trademark. Coraid and EtherDrive are registered trademarks of Coraid. Coraid trademarks include RAIDShield and VirtualStorage. Coraid Incorporated 255 Shoreline Drive, Suite 650 Redwood City, CA USA International 2

3 Table of Contents Five Myths of Private Clouds... 4 Myth #1: There is No Such Thing as a Private Cloud... 4 Myth #2: I m Running Virtual Machines, So I Already have a Private Cloud... 4 Myth #3: Private Cloud = Virtualization + Automation... 4 Myth #4: Chargeback is Not Important for Private Cloud... 5 Myth #5: My Existing Server, Storage, and Network Technologies will support My Private Cloud... 5 Conclusion

4 Five Myths of Private Clouds Virtualization and modern application development are transforming the data center from isolated islands of compute to dynamic, shared infrastructures. Public cloud vendors have demonstrated business models that leverage these new architectures to provide on-demand, self-service access to computing for consumers and businesses at very low costs. Now enterprise organizations are starting to adopt public cloud methods to deploy internal clouds that offer the same benefits to their end users. However, many myths and misperceptions continue to inhibit private cloud adoption. Myth #1: There is No Such Thing as a Private Cloud Public cloud vendors will argue that private clouds are not real. After all, they claim, the economies of scale of cloud computing only come from sharing infrastructure across many organizations. But that ignores the true motivation for cloud. End users and developers are not just searching for cost savings, but rather they want faster and better service. They are tired of waiting for a server to be provisioned or an application to be deployed. They want to do it themselves, right now. Private cloud is a new business model for internal IT that allows them to meet that user demand. Like the public cloud providers, IT can provide on-demand services through simple portals with clear chargeback of costs. And though they may not have the same cost structure as a public cloud, internal IT has an inherent advantage on trust and security. Perhaps in the long term, the public cloud cost advantages will be too compelling for users to ignore. But in the short term, IT organizations can create great internal value by offering flexible, on-demand cloud services through their private cloud. Myth #2: I m Running Virtual Machines, So I Already have a Private Cloud Many organizations have traveled far along the virtualization journey to transform their old, brittle server infrastructures into dynamic, self-healing environments. This has brought tremendous cost savings, both in terms of capital and operating costs. But is it cloud? The National Institute of Standards (NIST), in providing one of the most widely quoted definitions 1, has identified the required features of cloud to include on-demand access, resource metering, and the ability to scale up and down rapidly. These are not automatic in a virtualized environment. In fact, they are still very hard to do. Virtualization can facilitate these features, but realizing them is primarily about changes in business process. To truly deploy cloud, organizations need to think hard about how to standardize their service offerings, make them available through simple portals, and track usage and cost information to report or charge back to their business partners. Myth #3: Private Cloud = Virtualization + Automation An enduring myth of private cloud is that automation software can transform traditional IT processes and infrastructure into a cloud. If the only challenge was in provisioning a bare virtual machine, that might work. But IT needs to provision operating systems, databases, backup software, storage, network, and much more. Then these things all need to adapt automatically as new users put additional demands on the systems. In a traditional IT environment, these requests are highly customized and thus the number of combinations and potential configurations overwhelms the ability to automate

5 Automation only succeeds after addressing the core issue of IT complexity. One key step is in ruthlessly standardizing the infrastructure. Rather than having custom services, cloud providers predefine their service levels and offerings. This discipline then filters down into the hardware and software architectures. For example, storage is typically standardized to support a small number of very specific service levels, such as basic storage, replicated storage, and high performance storage. This simplifies provisioning systems and works best when paired with storage that can support every tier with a single platform. Once the infrastructure is highly standardized, automation enables small teams of operators to manage very large scale infrastructures. For example, virtual machine provisioning, placement, and reconfiguration can all happen automatically. Users benefit from instant response to requests and the business benefits from dramatically reduced operating costs. Myth #4: Chargeback is Not Important for Private Cloud Public clouds clearly need well defined billing systems to charge customers for resource usage. But it turns out that a chargeback or at least a showback process is critical in private clouds as well. The great promise of private cloud is on-demand access; that is, the ability to spin up compute and storage resources instantly. But if the ability to consume IT resources is that easy, there is significant risk in overconsumption. IT has a responsibility to help the business align opportunity and revenue against IT expense by providing deep visibility into the cost of individual services. A well-executed chargeback or showback process will help application and business owners make better decisions about which projects are worth pursuing. It can also push the responsibility of resource decision making back to the business units where it belongs. Myth #5: My Existing Server, Storage, and Network Technologies will support My Private Cloud Transforming IT from providing highly customized services to providing on-demand, standardized services requires a new IT architecture that is more elastic and automated than in traditional infrastructures. Computing has already made the transition with the advent of scale-out servers and server virtualization. Unfortunately, storage, networks, and storage area networks (SANs) still suffer from brittle, scale-up designs better suited to static environments. New technologies are finally emerging to bring the same scale-out architectures and economics into the network and storage arena. IT organizations should look for flexible hardware solutions that are programmable through well-defined REST APIs and should avoid vendor lock-in by selecting solutions with low cost, off-the-shelf components. The public cloud vendors built their infrastructures with these technology principles and private cloud vendors should emulate their success. Conclusion Cloud computing offers tremendous promise for IT organizations to transform their architecture and their relationships with their business partners. But it is a transformation that requires careful planning and thought. Understanding the truth behind these common myths will help IT teams move more confidently toward their Private Cloud. 5

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