The Virtualization Practice

IT as a Service

IT as a Service (ITaaS) covers private clouds hybrid clouds and the cloud management offerings used to create and manage these clouds. This includes coverage of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) private and hybrid cloud offerings, Platform as a Service (PaaS) private and hybrid cloud offerings, and Software as a Service (SaaS). ...
Emerging areas like Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Storage as a Service, and Applications as a Service are also covered. The key issues covered include which enterprise applications and use cases are appropriate for private and hybrid clouds, and how vendors should select the cloud management offerings that are going to be used to manage these various types of cloud services. Covered vendors include VMware (vCloud Automation Center), VirtuStream, CloudBolt Software, Intigua, ElasticBox, ServiceMesh, Cloudsidekick, and Puppet Labs.

While we may well be on the road towards VMware becoming the layer of software that talks to the hardware in the data center – removing Microsoft from that role, this is not the end of Windows. If Windows were just an OS, it would be severely threatened VMware insertion into the data center stack. But Windows is not just an OS. Windows is also a market leading applications platform with .NET have a far greater market share and base of developers than vFabric. Windows is also in the process of becoming a PaaS cloud – one that will be living at Microsoft, at thousands of hosting providers, and at probably every enterprise that is a significant Microsoft customer. This incarnation of Windows is at the beginning of its life, not the end.

Todd Nielsen has already succeeded twice at what he is now being asked to do at VMware – once at Microsoft and once at BEA. This time what hangs in the wind is VMware’s ultimate destiny. Will VMware be the device driver to the dynamic data center (vSphere), or will VMware be that and the next generation application platform for IT as a Service and Public Cloud based applications?

You heard the buzzwords and drunk the kool-aid and now you want to move to the cloud, how do you do this? This has been the a fairly interesting question on the VMware Communities Podcast yesterday, when the vCloud team showed up to talk about the current reference architecture. Yet almost all the questions were about going to the cloud and not about the architecture. Does this mean people do not understand what is required to go to the cloud? I think so. So to take a few elements from the podcast and put them in writing is the goal of this article. The Simple Steps to move to the cloud.

Monitoring the performance of the infrastructure, applications and services in IT as a Service environments will require that monitoring solutions become multi-tenant, can be instantiated by ITaaS management tools without any further configuration, and that they automatically “find” their back end management systems through whatever firewalls may be in place. These requirements will probably be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the heavyweight complex legacy tools that were in place prior to to the onset of virtualization, the public cloud and now IT as a Service. ITaaS is the tipping point that should cause most enterprises ignore every monitoring tool that they have bought in the past and to start over with a clean sheet of paper.

The acquisition of Akorri by NetApp demonstrates the importance of Infrastructure Performance Management solutions as virtualization progresses into the realm of business critical applications, and as public clouds hope to do the same. However rather than signaling a “game over” this acquisition really raises both the visibility and the importance of both the problems that Akorri solved, and the true end-to-end problems that remain.

Given that vSphere provides significant benefits in terms of cost savings and business agility, those benefits are tied to and constrained by the ability of vSphere to provide backward compatibility with existing legacy enterprise systems. This backward compatibility makes it impossible for vSphere to provide infinite horizontal scalability. Moving to the same architecture as the most highly scaled out public cloud vendors provides for a more radical set of benefits, but at the cost of breaking backward compatibility for many applications.

Threat Analysis: Layers upon layers

When we think of the threat to a virtual environment or the cloud, what do we think about? First it is important to understand how the cloud is layered ontop of the virtual environment. Given a cloud stack, where are the entry points for SaaS, PaaS, IaaS, and Cloud management? At the recent Minneapolis VMUG I attempted to relay that information to the attendees. Once we understood the layers we could then concentrate on the threat vectors to the cloud and virtual environment.

IT as a Service Reference Architecture

Implementing IT as a Service requires a virtualization platform, and virtualization aware configuration and change management, secure multi-tenancy, provisioning and lifecycle management, orchestration and automation, and service catalog. These capabilities are available from VMware, DynamicOps, Embotics, Eucaplyptus, ManageIQ, newScale, Quest, rPath and Reflex Systems.