This part 1 of the series “10 Things Vmware Server Admins Should Know About Self-Service Catalogs and Lifecycle Management” that I’ll be publishing over the next few weeks--I hope! (The boy is nothing if not ambitious).
1. The service catalog is a tool for driving users to standard configurations.
To get the operational efficiencies we hope to achieve from virtualization and / or cloud computing, we need to establish standard configurations. This is tough, for a couple of reasons.
First, the challenge is the gap between the language of the customer, and the detail needed by the operations group typically generates a lot of back and forth during the “server engineering” process. Instead of having “pre-packaged” configurations, every thing is bespoke.
Instead of having useful abstraction layers and levels, the customer has to invent their own little bit of the data center. This made sense when the new app meant a whole new hardware stack to which the app would be fused to and the concrete poured on it. It doesn’t make sense now.
Second, there’s resistance from customers to adopt standard VM builds. Sometimes the reasons are valid, other times less so. The issue arises because the technical configurations have not been abstracted to a level the user can understand what they get and what’s available for configuration. Nor can they compare one template to another in ways that are meaningful to them.
The service catalog is the tool to help deal with these two obstacles. The service catalog is a useful tool to communicate, in the language of the customer, the different options available from IT for hosting environments.
A service catalog will support multiple views (customer, technical, financial, etc) so that when the customer selects “small Linux” for testing, this generates both a bill of materials and standard configuration options. Once that base is selected, self-service configuration wizards provide both guidance and gutter-rails so the customer is both helped to the right thing and prevented from making errors.
From this customer configuration, the environment build sheet is generated which will drive provisioning and configuration activities or to execute any policy automation in place.
And the catalog allows the VM admins to figure out what their “market” is buying; which is very useful for capacity planning.
if you get the chance to be at EMC World you probably saw an interesting demo shared by Cisco, EMC and VCE about Mobility and Business Continuance -- If you didn’t , Cisco Live San Diego will be another opportunity to see it
Today I am pleased to have EMC Colin Durocher, bringing his perspective on the best way to address a critical challenge for a lot of IT organizations.
Next week I will post a second part (here) , with a video about the demo itself
Colin Durocher (on Twitter @OtherColin) is a Principal Product Manager with the RecoverPoint VPLEX Business Unit.He has been working with the VPLEX product in several capacities including QA, software development,
systems engineering, and product management for over 10 years.
He is a father of two, a professional engineer, and is currently pursuing an MBA.
Colin is based out of Montreal, Canada.
“Life Inside the Datacenter Silo
The traditional approach to IT is characterized by datacenter silos. Within each silo, we have our operations down to a science:
We use server clustering, redundant network fabrics, and RAID storage to protect against unplanned local failures.
We maintain spare capacity to absorb failures and workload spikes
We don’t think twice about moving data between tiers, or even between arrays to optimize cost and performance.
We commonly move virtual machines non-disruptively from server to server to load balance or perform maintenance.
As far as mobility and availability needs are concerned, life is good… Within the silo.
Crossing the Chasm (Between Silos)
When it comes to protecting against site failures, we use array replication to maintain a copy of all our data in a secondary (often passive) datacenter. We maintain scripts to automate our failover in case we ever need to declare a disaster. We practice our DR plan at least once a year. Don’t we? Moving applications between datacenters is complicated enough that we really just try not to do it. When we do, it often entails a professional services engagement.
All this has worked reasonably well for us up to now. But IT budgets are being squeezed and IT administrators need to eliminate waste, reduce complexity and find ways to increase their operational efficiency. It isn’t an optional thing. Consider the IDC digital universe study (2011) which estimates that by 2020, the amount of information under management will increase by a factor of 50 while the number of IT staff managing it will increase by only 1.5
That gap will need to be filled by different technologies. Let me introduce one to you – EMC VPLEX Metro. For hundreds of customers, it is breaking down the barriers between datacenters bringing new levels of efficiency, simplicity, and availability.
Data centers have evolved from a simple client-server model to complex virtualized environments, with the network continuing to play a vital role to enable businesses to adopt new technologies and applications for growth and scale. The data deluge resulting from the exponential increase of video traffic and rich media applications along with and workload mobility, and users are bringing their own devices (BYOD) such as tablets and smart phones into the work environment, is driving significant change in information technology. The question in the minds of CTOs, IT Directors and Managers — even System Administrators — now becomes, Is your data center network really ready to meet these new challenges?
As part ofThe Data Center LAN Switching Thought Leadership discussion series, Dr. Jim Metzler, Moderator, Ashton, Metzler & Associates, discussed some of the key technologies that have driven the data center network evolution. The discussion focused on the viability of converging LAN and SAN environments along with the best approaches to scale Virtual Machines and incorporate OpenFlow and Virtualization into data center networks based on input from industry leaders - Cisco, HP, Arista, Avaya, Brocade, and Extreme Networks
The cloud battle lines have been drawn out over the past 2-3 years. Is your company getting your CRM from the public cloud? Most definitely! Does your IT shop use one site Service Desk tools or are they using a public cloud provider? Maybe. Did you click the button and put your music in the cloud. Probably.
Many 10’s of billions of enterprise CAPEX and OPEX dollars are spent on enterprise compute and the tools to manage and automate that. IT shops have a very difficult question: Do I invest in building my own private cloud, or do I leverage the public cloud? Many say that a well run private cloud can be cheaper, more secure, and more in tune with internal requirements. Private and Public clouds are vying for your spend and mind share. Who will this battle? How much of a war is this?
Let’s understand that management and automation software has become just as important as your hardware selection as the key ingredient in your compute strategy. This is a war over close to 100B dollars of enterprise and service provide spend.
There is indeed a 3rd player in this war: a company and a service offer that is both pragmatic and in a leadership position. I personally spent close to 6 years in the managed services business earlier in my career and every lesson I learned in managing on-premise, hosted, and private infrastructure for clients all pointed to the most pragmatic approach for how to address client needs: Customer Choice.
News Flash: CSC has selected and is deploying Cisco’s Intelligent Automation for Cloud as the cloud automation engine behind their on-premise private and public cloud offering running on VCE vBlock technology. This is a significant market statement about where infrastructure as a service is going and how to get there. Leveraging the lessons from Cisco IT usage of Intelligent Automation for Cloud (self service, catalog and orchestration) for private cloud management and automation and all the knowledge based best practices that our business unit has harvested over the past 10+ years of experience in automation in public and private clouds, CSC and Cisco and have joined forces in the war. Many other service providers are as well.
If you would like the benefit of a private cloud, but want someone else to operate it, give CSC a call. It will be an intelligent choice for Intelligent Automation from Cisco.
A quick report from EMC World 2012 in Las Vegas
Pretty busy day this Tuesday with a lot of topics covered by Cisco experts and partners
Desktop virtualization Interesting conversation between EMC Josh Mello (@joshmello), Presidio Steve Kaplan (@ROIdude), and Cisco Ravi Balakrishnan who addressed major questions in this panel such as common barriers for adoption, architectural innovations and value proposition brought by each company