Virtualization In Cloud: A Road Map

While attending a event on Cloud services, an IT manager told me that he was already using cloud for a long time. I got interested because I always try cases of success or failure. The failure is very interesting because I learn a lot from mistakes.

When questioned, he told me he had almost all their servers virtualized. The questioning continued, but the answers stop there. Yes, that’s it. In the view of IT manager, virtualized servers meant to be in cloud services.

Unfortunately, I had to frustrate him and show that virtualization is not a single cloud. It is only the first step, provided there is a strategy to get there. If virtualization is the ultimate goal, it will not reach the cloud. Cloud architectures demand changes in technology, e-governance services, funding models and relationships with users and customers.

Many companies have adopted virtualization in order to consolidate their servers and reduce hardware costs and energy. Or even to prevent the construction of a new data center, the proliferation of physical servers.

However, soon discovered that pass, for example, of 100 physical servers to 50 servers – but with 300 or more logical servers virtualized – create immense management problems with consequent cost increases.

My suggestion to him was to take the following steps:

Virtualization abstracts the applications and infrastructure can be the basis for building a cloud strategy.
We still have to adopt the standardization and automation of computing environment. It is a gradual process.

With a virtualized environment, we can focus on operational improvements, creating mechanisms that enable a provisioning and allocation of resources more quickly and automatically. The user himself can request computing resources via a portal.

Of course at that stage we will have to rethink the bureaucratic procedures and manuals that we adopt today. When a request fails to pass the server administrator for a human and becomes automatic (via self-service portal), and the provisioning time is no longer than two or three weeks to just minutes, the procedures should be reviewed.

The adoption of cloud services should follow a well-defined strategy. Overall, a great company starts with a private cloud, in an exploratory manner, with certain well-defined and restricted strategy.

A good example is the development environment and testing. It is a good way to start putting the cloud into practice. The lessons learned will be very useful, since the spread of the cloud model to other contexts, such as the production are important.

Cloud brings the review of the relationship-user data center, including allowing a more accurate view of resource consumption and thus making room for a revision of funding the company.

The self-service opens up new challenges from the perspective of security and management. For example, in a test environment in the cloud, any developer can allocate a virtual server or are there clear rules on who can allocate these resources.

Very well, begin to explore a private cloud. The next step will probably be adopting hybrid clouds, with some applications and services running on public clouds. New challenges are emerging, ranging from security to integration. Inter-operate as an application that is in a private cloud with one that is in a public cloud.

Why think of hybrid clouds?

Often you will need to deal with peak periods that do not justify the purchase of assets (dedicated server) which will become idle below.

An example?

The development environment itself, and testing can go through periods of extraordinary peak and short duration. Allow it to expand temporarily to a public cloud causes no need to buy new servers.

Another point we should consider is that many applications and services can run, even in public clouds, they meet the criteria of security and corporate governance. In this case, the hybrid model becomes constant. In my opinion, the majority of medium to large businesses will move to that model in the coming years.

This year, we see an acceleration significant use of cloud providers. In an exploratory way, it’s true, but as we learn to use it and feel its benefits, the rate of adoption will be much accelerated.

Some estimates suggest that over the next year about two thirds of large companies will be using private clouds to a greater or lesser degree. Hybrid clouds will be the next step and soon after we lose the fear of using public clouds.

Therefore, IT managers are facing a future that is already doing this: the enterprise in cloud, i.e., the post-virtualization.

The question that arises is: are we prepared?


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