Preparing for the Cloud Infrastructure

By CIOReview | Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Traditionally, organizations adopted virtualization for the primary reason of reducing total cost of ownership and gaining a return on investments in the data center. The advent of cloud computing has transformed the scenario to a great extent now. Now, an IT operation is expected to produce more benefits than just cost savings. Understanding how decisions made now will affect organization’s ability to adapt later is important in both cases—whether moving to virtualization for the first time or deploying a sophisticated cloud-ready infrastructure. Organizations need to ensure that the technology they deploy in their data center acts as a strong foundation that can adapt to the next generations of virtualization and cloud computing.

Even a company that is tentative to move workloads to the cloud should try to make sure purchases will allow for such a shift when the time is right. It is essential to plan for how those inevitable changes will affect the different IT infrastructure layers in a production environment as no one can accurately predict how virtualization and cloud technologies will evolve. This can be one of the ways to future proof an infrastructure.

Decision makers need to consider how best to support current IT needs while anticipating how those needs will change over time when designing a cloud-ready infrastructure. Specifically, IT leaders should consider how to build a flexible and adaptable virtualization infrastructure, be able to manage a high-performance hybrid cloud, reduce overall IT administrative overhead and avoid vendor lock-in.

On the flipside, companies that choose to hold off on cloud computing may face a higher total cost of ownership and could end up needing to make enormous changes to their infrastructure when they eventually choose to do more in the cloud.

Soon, organizations’ may notice their line-of-business applications being released with a cloud version that can ultimately help in reducing deployment and physical infrastructure costs. Interestingly, the success of Docker has prompted major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, to expand their vast services and support for application containerization. Moving workloads into containers or to a public cloud, both ways a cloud-ready infrastructure enables companies to adjust to change.

Scalability and Flexibility

The primary aim of building an adaptable cloud infrastructure is to make changes as efficiently as possible and to minimize downtime. For example, a virtualization vendor might add a new set of features to its platform. In order to take advantage of the new offerings, one has to have an infrastructure that is both flexible and scalable enough to accommodate the new features with less effort.

There are three main layers in a cloud-ready infrastructure are the physical, hypervisor and management layers. While there can be more, these are majorly responsible for a cloud infrastructure’s flexibility and scalability. Physical, hypervisor and management layers are closely integrated with each other, that operate together to form a cloud infrastructure. However, they cannot be considered ready unless the need for scalability and flexibility in the right layers is addressed.

Scalability is addressed at the hypervisor and physical layers, while flexibility is handled at the management layer. For a cloud infrastructure to be scalable and flexible, deploying the right virtualization hosts and management tools is important. To ensure full proof future-proofing of an infrastructure, sophisticated products such as Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere or Citrix XenServer as a virtualization platform, and System Center or vCloud Director should be used as a management tool. The use of these tools will make sure that the infrastructure is robust and is able to handle the next generations of IT changes efficiently while adapting to the hybrid cloud model smoothly.