Management Considerations for a Distributed Infrastructure
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Cloud continues to impact organizations of all sizes and verticals. Most of all – these distributed technologies allow us to become more agile and a lot more competitive in today’s market. This means that organizations can leverage new kinds of resources, create new kinds of business economics, and enhance user experiences.
IDC recently pointed out that, from a company size perspective, large and very large companies will be the primary driver of worldwide public cloud services with spending of more than $80 billion in 2019. However, small and medium businesses (SMBs) will remain a significant contributor to overall spending with more than 40% of the worldwide total throughout the forecast period coming from companies with fewer than 500 employees.
Furthermore, they pointed that out that cloud infrastructure spending will increase at almost six times the rate of overall IT spending growth – from nearly $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019.
As we examine distributed infrastructures today, we see that cloud computing and virtualization is built around shared resources. This means that resources can quickly become used up if not properly managed. The idea here is to keep a proactive stance on both the cloud and virtual infrastructure to catch potential problems before they occur.
When keeping an eye on the environment, there are several key points to look out for.
- Set alarms and alerts. From the hypervisor, workload and cloud level – alerts and alarms must be set up. Staying proactive in an environment where resources are shared is absolutely crucial to the functionality of the entire infrastructure. Remember, since resources are shared, an impact on one system may have negative repercussions on other workloads running on that physical box. Enterprise-ready platforms will all have alert mechanisms in place to examine policy violations, resource overcommits, bandwidth problems or even security concerns.
- Keep an eye on resources and data. Resources are very finite within a virtual environment. Furthermore, resources can be expensive. Poor sizing or runaway allocation of resources will have negative effects on already running VMs. Cloud computing is built around effective resource management. Never plan for today. Rather, always plan for the future to ensure that there is room for spikes and organizational growth.
- Have a good security management platform. Cloud computing is built around the idea that data is available anytime, anywhere and on virtually any device – given that there is an Internet connection. This same concept should be adopted towards a security platform. The security management of an entire infrastructure should have the capability of being examined anytime and anywhere. Look for products which have web-based consoles which provide the administrator with live information and the capability to control the environment. Furthermore, some advanced features now offer super-admins to control their security platform from a mobile device!
- Monitor end-user experience. A poor end-user experience can mean the end of a cloud or virtualization project. End-users must be empowered and feel comfortable in using any platform placed in front of them. Monitoring end-user performance from a security, cloud and virtual aspect will help deliver a more powerful experience. Tools which are capable of seeing application load times, length of connection and how much bandwidth is being utilized can all help create a more efficient environment. Adopting lightweight client technologies both from a cloud and security perspective will reduce the resource load at the end-user level as well.
- Always keep your business in mind. Remember, your IT environment directly enables the capabilities of your business. As you create your own distributed, cloud-ready, infrastructure – make sure to plan around your business, overall goas, and strategic initiatives. Most of all you can create very powerful competitive advantages when you properly size and deploy your distributed architecture. Finally, work with partners and providers which can see the big technology picture and help you align it with your business strategy.
Keeping an eye on the environment can help prevent numerous different issues. Aside from creating an audit log for all activities on the network, administrators must have a proactive view into the environment. Catching policy violations or responding to resource alerts before they actually become issues can help increase the uptime of any cloud and virtualization environment. As a management platform is introduced, it’s also important to keep an eye out for deployment best practices when it comes to virtualization and cloud computing.