Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Considering cloud hardware

When your company is establishing a cloud data center, think about the hardware elements in a different way. The following sections summarize considerations.

Cloud data centers have the luxury of being able to engineer the way systems (boards, chips, and more) are cooled. When systems are cooled via air conditioning, they require tremendous amounts of power. However, purpose-built cloud data centers can be engineered to be cooled by water, for example (which is 3,000 times more efficient than air in cooling equipment).

CPU, memory, and local disk
Traditional data tends to be filled with a lot of surplus equipment (either to support unanticipated workloads or because an application or process wasn’t engineered to be efficient). Surplus memory, CPUs, and disks take up valuable space and, of course, they need to be cooled. The cloud data center typically supports self-service provisioning of resources so capacity is added only when you need it. With this hardware being so important, I am sure they have someone with training in computer repair on stand-by!

Data storage and networking
Data storage and networking need to be managed collectively if they’re going to be efficient. This problem has complicated the way the traditional data centers have been managed, and has forced organizations to buy a lot of additional hardware and software. The cloud data center can be engineered to overcome this problem. The cloud knows where its data needs to be because it is so efficient in the way it manages workloads. The cloud actually is engineered to manage data efficiently.

Data centers must always move data around the network for backup and disaster recovery. Traditional data centers support so many different workloads that many approaches to backup and recovery have to be taken. This makes backing up and recovering data complicated and expensive. The cloud, in contrast, is designed to handle data workloads consistently. For example, in a cloud data center you can establish a global policy about how and when backups will be handled. This can be then handled in an automated manner, reducing the cost of handling backup and recovery.

Software embedded within the data center
We talk a lot about software in the context of applications, but a considerable amount of software is linked at a systems level. This type of system level software is a big cost in the traditional data center simply because there are so many more workloads with so many operating systems and related software elements.

As you know, cloud data centers have fewer elements because they have simpler workloads. There are some differences in how software costs are managed depending on the type of cloud model. Cloud providers understand these costs well and design their offerings to maximize revenue. It will help you understand pricing by understanding the cost factors for each of the models.

The following gives you a sense of the difference between IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS when it comes to embedded software costs:

✓ An Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) operation is likely to have higher software costs because although it provides only an environment for running applications, it has to build that environment according to equivalent environments in corporate data centers. Therefore, the IaaS vendor has to spend a lot of resources on management and security software in addition to the operating systems.

✓ With a Platform as a Service (PaaS) operation, the provider delivers a full software stack. To reduce cost, the PaaS vendor is likely to provide a software stack consisting of proprietary components. The licensing costs may be lower for IaaS than the PaaS environment because the operator is likely to force the use of specific software products. However, the PaaS vendor must maintain and support the software stack it provides.

✓ With Software as a Service (SaaS), the SaaS vendor provides a proprietary application as its value to customers. While the vendor invests in this software, it typically relies on partners to support many of the other functions. These vendors also take advantage of open-source components.

Source of Information : cloud computing for dummies 2010 retail ebook distribution

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