Managing virtualised servers in hybrid clouds requires specialist tools.
‘The Cloud’ was once a nebulous place on flow charts where developers could shunt data and carry out routine operations before bringing it back into the real world application they were creating. It is a convenient fiction that allows them to focus on what they are doing, but in the business world, hybrid cloud infrastructure costs money and needs managing just as carefully as any other asset.
Private cloud systems are replacing traditional data centres in many businesses, particularly large groups where there are serious economies to be made by having virtualised servers that can be provisioned and made available to companies within the group, or to individual departments within organisations to deal with the peaks and troughs in demand. Management systems need to be put in place to ensure that servers will be available when needed, and that usage of them is billed to the right division in the group.
Best Practice Linux Guide: Hybrid Clouds
Hybrid clouds arise when an organisation decides to shift some of its load to public cloud providers such as AWS or Rackspace. The public space may be simply data storage, it may be Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Salesforce, or it may be Platform as a Service (PaaS) such as Red Hat’s OpenShift. PaaS provides a complete server system with databases, programming languages and development tools so that applications can ‘burst out’ of the data centre into the public Cloud.
Cloud computing offers fast, self-service access to IT resources, but it can pose particular management problems. As well as the financial question of whose applications are using which resource for how long, it can also pose problems of data governance. Providing an unmanaged, self-service portal risks taking compliance away from the IT department. Software provisioning can be put into the hands of developers and end-users who do not necessarily know or care about IT compliance, security or governance. To run applications safely in Cloud environments, IT departments need a way to keep control.
The solution? CloudForms
Mike Curtis, Executive Director at LinuxIT, explains: “Red Hat CloudForms provides the controls businesses need. CloudForms isn’t a single application, it’s a whole suite of services and solutions covering everything from defining a suitable solution through installing and configuring it to training your staff.” The Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution can manage heterogeneous IT resources, both in-house and in public Clouds. CloudForms creates pools of resources – Clouds – from mixed infrastructures that can include virtualised systems in-house and the public Cloud running a variety of technology stacks.
Administrators can use an application blueprint to define services and their associated policies and make these services available in a catalogue. This provides users, such as developers, with self-service access to services through a web interface, controlled by the policies set by the administrator.
CloudForms encourages asset and application based management that will make ownership, audit, and certification easier to own and therefore reduce both risk and hidden management costs in the future. With CloudForms you have all of the agility and benefits of hybrid cloud while still retaining control.
Your approach to managing hybrid clouds should ensure:
- Self-service availability for users
- Control and governance for the IT department
- Apps can be deployed across multiple platforms
- Management of heterogeneous Virtual Machines in-house and in the public cloud
- The use of software from a variety of sources – no vendor lock-in
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