Before we dive into detail, here is a quick overview of the route-map to Cloud Computing:
- Collect - before you change anything, you need to understand what you've got. This includes servers, storage, networks and software, as well as your operational procedures and any other requirements or constraints you have. In order to pick the appropriate application components to consolidate you'll need their associated resource consumption (performance) data. Finally, you'll need to know of what your biggest costs and operational inhibitors are so that you can determine what will give you the biggest returns.
- Rationalize - determine what your standard components will be. Then minimise the number of combinations of server, operating system release and database version you need to manage. This ultimately simplifies your management processes and costs.
- Consolidate - use schema or database consolidation, as appropriate, to minimise database management overheads and increase server utilization.
- Virtualize - use virtualization to isolate and encapsulate database deployments. The virtualized containers can then be collocated on the underlying physical servers to maximum utilization where there is spare capacity.
- Package - create service delivery templates for server, database and middleware to enable Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Database as a Service (DBaaS), or Platform as a Service (PaaS).
- Deliver - make your service templates available through a self service portal to enable users to provision what they need, when they need it, within the confines of their entitlements.
- Meter and Monitor - use monitoring and chargeback to gain insight into further consolidation and optimization opportunities.
Don't be fooled into thinking this is a one-off trip, or something that must be rushed. Far from it. Think of it as a daily commute with familiar landmarks, traffic lights, and intersections along the way. As new roads are built or widened, you can take advantage of them to hasten your journey.
As your knowledge of the journey increases, so you can optimize your data center, enjoy greater agility and lower costs through standardization and increased asset utilization.
No doubt you'll have read the articles, seen the webcasts, attended the conferences that all extolled the virtues of Cloud Computing. So to recast the oft-asked question by children on long journeys "Are you there yet?" No? If it's that great what's putting you off implementing it? May be it's because you're not sure how to go about it, or may be you're not convinced of the return on investment (ROI) you'll get? What ever the inhibitor is, we hope the following series of blog entries will help you on your way to achieving the benefits that Cloud Computing can bring.