Archive for the ‘IaaS’ Category

What distinguishes an Enterprise Cloud from other clouds?

Today we hear from Nik Weidenbacher, Product Engineering at SunGardAS  – Carl M.

Most people have a general understanding of public and private clouds and the differences between the two offerings. 

When talking about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), typically a private cloud is in a company’s data center while a public cloud is operated by a provider and shared by multiple companies.  That is a good start, but neither definition explains what an Enterprise Cloud is.

An Enterprise Cloud offers a virtualized, multi-tenant infrastructure that can provide many of the same benefits as running a private cloud for your company, without requiring the same up-front investment.  Unlike most public clouds, an Enterprise Cloud also lets you control many of the resources and policies you are used to controlling, such as IP addresses, network layout, network transport (in addition to internet), and monitoring and backup policies.  In addition, all VMs can be protected by an enterprise-class firewall. 

Most public clouds require you to provide your own firewall protection, as well as determine how to secure your data on disk and as it traverses the network. Most also provide a “self-service” portal that lets you configure your own server with OS, RAM, etc., run your own programs and make everything work yourselves. These features are good for companies that have high-level technical people and want to save money on computing power. 

For companies that want to focus less on IT operations and use their high-level technical people for important business goals, an Enterprise Cloud is more appropriate. The Enterprise cloud offers management and systems monitoring services just as your own staff would. If an application hangs or crashes, the Enterprise Cloud technicians take action to restore it. They also install patches and new software releases, take back-up copies, and proactively monitor uptime, storage capacity, usage, etc.

In short, an Enterprise Cloud  provides the infrastructure and computing resources you need for today and tomorrow, along with the management and monitoring services you need to make sure your operations is up and running smoothly. Just as you leverage cloud hardware, you can leverage cloud expertise for your competitive advantage.

What advantages could you company reap with Enterprise Cloud services?

Download SunGard’s white paper, All clouds are not created equal.”

Cloud Connect 2011

Satish Hemachandran just returned from Cloud Connect 2011

This week’s Cloud Connect 2011 was the place to be to discuss all things Cloud. I spent two days at a packed convention center where the session topics conveyed the attendees’ interest in deciphering the challenges faced by enterprises in Cloud adoption. The consistent theme for this year’s event was about how Cloud for the enterprise needs to be built with availability, manageability, and security in mind – an area that we within SunGard are most passionate about. 

I had the opportunity to present SunGard’s vision of the Enterprise Cloud on Tuesday – this session was focused on the risks that IT departments face as they embark on the Cloud path and how these perceived and actual risks can be addressed through systematic mitigation. This risk mitigation takes the form of both products and processes that need to follow industry best practices but fine tuned for the Cloud based on your specific enterprise requirements.

The majority of enterprise customers though, are unable to solve this problem on their own since they are faced with diminished IT budgets, personnel resource constraints, or a lack of suitable Cloud technology vendors who offer these capabilities out of the box.  For instance, one of the people I spoke to at Cloud Connect was looking to introduce Cloud to his enterprise but was needed a partner who could not only understand his business and technical challenges, but was ready to address them. Specifically, as a large consumer company, he had data security and governance requirements that none of the commodity Clouds offered or even had thought about.

Another attendee was looking to build a hybrid Cloud that would allow his company to connect an IaaS with a tiered storage service with the kind of bandwidth and SLAs he needed while maintaining security. We also had a number of businesses ask about how change control took place in an enterprise Cloud and if/how Enterprise Cloud could help with meeting compliance requirements.  These questions are what you would expect any enterprise to have before committing to adopt a major technology shift.  

At SunGard, we believed that a Cloud done right can indeed offer the benefits of cost optimization and flexibility along with all characteristics around security, monitoring, management, integration/connectivity that makes it enterprise ready…it was good to hear these same sentiments expressed over and over again at Cloud Connect.

What did you learn at Cloud Connect?

SunGard Launches Enterprise Cloud Services

Today SunGardAS announced the general availability of our Enterprise Cloud Services.  SunGard’s cloud platform leverages best-in-class VBlock technology from EMC®, VMware® and Cisco® to deliver high availability and security.  SunGard fully manages the multiple components of the IaaS platform, including all necessary compute, network, storage and security resources.    

We have leveraged our expertise as a managed service provider to offer a fully-managed cloud environment. Our customers do not want to trade managed services for the financial flexibility and speed of provisioning that a cloud offered.  They want both.  Now they can have it. 

Who should consider SunGard’s Enterprise Cloud?  Any business that has critical applications where 24/7/365 availability and service levels are key.  A general, public cloud works best when you need straight computing power for a particular task.  But when you have business-critical applications (if they go down, you lose money) you need a trusted partner whose expertise you can leverage, and whose core enterprise-grade cloud offering includes managed services backed by SLAs covering both the VMs and the hardware.

 Questions about SunGard’s fully managed Enterprise Cloud Services?  Click here to learn more…

Key Considerations When Moving to IaaS

Rahul Bakshi is  the Vice President, Managed Services Solution Design at SunGard Availability Services

Now that more enterprises are starting to embrace IaaS and the cloud, here are some key considerations when making the cloud move:

First and foremost – prior to evaluating providers – it is critically important for an organization to know and understand how its applications are architected and the benefits it is looking to obtain from an IaaS solution.  This includes, but is not limited to – testing and certifying on virtualization, testing performance characteristics, and understanding any application interdependencies.  Similarly, enterprises need to articulate what they are hoping to achieve from a cloud solution.  Is it capacity on demand – reduced provisioning, services and infrastructure as needed?  A solution addressing those needs could look completely different from one where the goal is improved service delivery via automation and integration which reduces the costs and dependencies associated with building foundational solutions. 

Secondly, as all clouds are not created equal, enterprises also need to weigh their own security and compliance requirements as they evaluate options.  Different solutions providers offer different levels of security, and some providers cater specifically to vertical markets that might have particular compliance requirements.  How the service provider delivers the service (architecture, support structure, reporting capabilities) must be align with the business requirements.  For instance, PCI Level 1 merchants will likely not use a shared fabric whereas those processing lower volumes of transactions may, if the appropriate controls are in place.

Lastly there is the question of managed versus unmanaged cloud.  An organization needs to understand the line of demarcation between what the cloud vendor provides and what the customer picks up on its end.  For example, is the solution managed all the way up through the operating system (virtual machine) and then the customer focuses on its applications?  Or is the customer primarily looking to capitalize on a provider’s investment in infrastructure and offsetting capex?  And organizations that are looking for managed services need to ensure that those services are backed by SLAs around availability and/or performance.

IaaS: What it means – how it differs from PaaS and SaaS

Joining in the cloud discussion today is Matt Carey, senior director, product marketing, at SunGard Availability Services and one of the Enterprise Cloud team members. 

Users  in the marketplace seem to be getting a clearer understanding about the different kinds of cloud deployments (private, community, public and hybrid), but one area where I still see peers, customers and industry experts tripping up surrounds the definition of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). 

What IS IaaS?

IaaS includes all the system services that make up the foundation layer of a cloud—the server, computing, operating system, storage, data back-up and networking services.   IaaS supports the Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) layer, which includes the development tools you use to build, modify and deploy  cloud optimized applications, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) layer, which includes the business applications.

Shades of Gray in the Cloud

While the definition of the IaaS layer is pretty straightforward, there are some gray areas where you need to ask questions: resiliency, restoration, disaster recovery, and security.  

  • Resiliency refers to the stability of the foundation and whether it is built to enterprise standards; 
  • Restoration refers to the ability to restore your data quickly after, say, the release of application software updates that damages data; 
  • Disaster recovery refers to the ability to get your business operations back online following a catastrophic event, whether it is a natural disaster, or an errant backhoe clawing through the power lines somewhere on the electrical grid, and finally 
  • Security refers to the architecture for monitoring the access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification and destruction of data by users and programs and whether those security capabilities are “baked in.”

Different vendors offer different types and levels of service in these areas, so it is wise to define your needs carefully.

Which of these areas are most important to your company?  Give me your unique perspective.