Keeping IT infrastructure running is a lot like playing Jenga. There are many interdependencies, and if you pull on the wrong thing, the whole tower can come tumbling down. Each new solution added to the mix makes the tower taller – an important idea to keep in mind when considering a private cloud.
A cloud is essentially a layer of IT automation, workload management, and self-service provisioning software that operates on top of IT infrastructure. The underlying IT infrastructure can be brittle traditional IT, or flexible, software-defined IT.
For a cloud to work properly, every piece of the underlying infrastructure needs to itself be working properly. The infrastructure design choices made determine how much effort must go in to keeping that cloud operational.
Private Cloud Lifecycle
Designing a cloud is, in essence, designing an entire data center. Designing and operating a cloud requires attention to the entire lifecycle of the cloud: since each component can affect adjacent solutions, the impact of every change on the whole must be carefully considered.
Layering on some cloud software to boss infrastructure around doesn’t magically solve all the IT problems that organizations have been experiencing for decades. Make the wrong choices in cloud design, and traditional IT problems will persist.
Consider for a moment the challenge of scaling up a private cloud. Most organizations aren’t going to convert their entire infrastructure over to private cloud right out of the gate. Even if they do, eventually – hopefully – the organization will grow. The initial cloud will need additional capacity, and adding capacity is a problem that the IT industry has struggled with for a long time.
Storage in particular has been at the center of capacity upgrade challenges. The term “forklift upgrade” became infamous within IT, because upgrading storage often meant buying a brand-new storage solution, migrating all of the data, and then throwing away existing unit. This frequently required a forklift, because storage units are heavy.
As the years went by, IT become more complex. Layers of abstraction were added to make it more manageable, ultimately culminating in what we now call “clouds.” Each layer of abstraction adds another potential point of conflict, however, and eventually organizations discovered that software upgrades could trigger the need for forklift upgrades.
Fortunately, organizations no longer have to deal with this. There are alternatives available. While traditional IT and Do-it-Yourself (DIY) clouds often have a significant design and support burden, vendors have spent the past few years figuring out how to deliver entire clouds with the ease-of-use of an appliance.
Cloud Platform To The Rescue
If you want, you can go to the wrecker, buy parts one at a time, and build your own car from parts. For some, this is a fun hobby. For most organizations, however, this would be seen as a gigantic waste of time.
Organizations buy (or lease) cars from vendors who specialize in fleet management. They buy lots of identical cars to lower the cost of supporting them, and many organizations have proactive support arrangements with vendors to have their cars maintained on a schedule.
Cloud platforms are clouds you can buy with all the hard bits taken care of for you. It’s not that these clouds don’t require design, testing, integration and all the other boring, burdensome, mundane parts of IT; it’s that the vendor does it for you.
The basic idea behind a cloud platform is plug in, power on, consume. Thanks to cloud platforms, adding a private cloud to one’s network has a difficulty level somewhere between adding a toaster to one’s kitchen, and convincing a VCR to stop blinking “12:00”. This is orders of magnitude less difficult than designing, managing and maintaining an entire data centers’ worth of it.
Despite this, cloud platforms can replace entire data centers. They can start off small enough to be useful to a small business, and scale in a limitless fashion, easily meeting the needs of enterprise IT.
In this video interview Cloudistics Dan Mroz Director of Channel Enablement and Marketing, reviews the innovation within the Cloudistics Ignite Cloud Platform with Scott Lowe, CEO and Lead Strategist at Actual Tech Media compared to other IT architectures. During the conversation Dan discusses the pain points of Tier-3, converged and HCI, including the complexity, cost, and resource management of those architectures. In the video he focuses on the benefits of the Ignite Cloud Controller the Cloudistics Application Marketplace, the software-defined elements, clusterless scaling and virtual data centers making the platform elegantly easy to MAINTAIN and SUPPORT, which is the focus of this blog.
The Cloudistics Platform
Cloudistics Ignite Cloud Platform takes less than 60 minutes to go from power-on to running workloads. Capacity expansion is simple: just add more boxes. No forklifts required. Retiring old hardware is equally easy: it can be removed as needed, with no data migration necessary.
Software updates are tested thoroughly before being made available to customers, resulting in non-disruptive, rolling updates that don’t impact cloud availability. The flexible, software-defined design means that the Ignite Cloud Platform comes ready to handle multiple use cases without design requirements, resulting in a quicker time to value.
IT infrastructure has come a long way since the bad old days where forklift upgrades were the norm, and every change was a game of Jenga. Cloud platforms simplify IT, eliminating upgrade cascades, saving IT teams time, and reducing costs.
Why not give Cloudistics a try?