Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Multi-Tenancy; Is your infrastructure Ready?

It is clear that this year will see significant change in the IT industry as internal IT shops move to the service provider model. Key to this will be virtualization, which provides a flexible platform for the allocation of compute resources. This layer will evolve to include automation and multi-tenancy.

From our base concept of a virtual datacenter we will add a provider datacenter and an organizational datacenter. The provider will deliver management and a global view of all compute resources available either on premise or off and the organizational datacenter will provide autonomous management of a partition of these available resources. These are the basic building blocks of vCloud Director. vCloud Director on its own however is not the complete solution as it is dependent on the underlying physical server and storage architecture.

To move forward we need to look carefully at our physical layer and ensure it is multi-tenant capable. Potentially this may be a real source of cost in moving to the provider model. A large percentage of storage architecture has been designed for either random or sequential read\write activity but not both.

When you mix work loads you quickly reach the limits of what the storage solution can do. There are a number of storage solutions that have cut their teeth building solutions for hosting providers. These are vendors that understand the challenge of large mix work load environments at a tremendous scale. To get to multi-tenancy in the virtualization layer we will need to consider if the foundation on which it is built can deliver the performance required.

Their will be a process transformation in order to ensure the value of these investments can be delivered efficiently. This will require a commitment to the automation of a large portion of IT processes. Automation accelerates the delivery of services from the providers of IT to the consumers of IT.

This can equate to a fair bit of work as to automate you must first understand the process from start to finish. Even in large organizations with well defined processes this can be challenging because once defined the processes will need to evolve. The trick is to ensure the checks and balances are carried forward while streamlining the Time To Output (TTO) of the process.

It is necessary to overcome these challenges in order to keep in-sync with the evolution of end user demands, the maturity of technology and the journey to the Cloud. It is going to be a busy year for IT.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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