Cisco Blogs


Cisco Blog > Data Center and Cloud

The Role of Layer 4-7 Services in Scaling Applications for the Cloud-Computing Data Center

The Cloud Challenge
Cloud computing is increasing demands on applications and the application-delivery infrastructure must change to meet the challenge. Virtualization does not solve the problems with applications scaling, in fact it adds complexity. Infrastructure alone does not solve the challenge either. You don’t want to oversubscribe or just add capacity on demand. The infrastructure needs to respond to user demand based on business value and maintain a favorable cost structure. This means that you need intelligent load processing to manage scale, especially given the evolution of applications, which now make numerous backend function calls, which create more traffic than at the front end.

The Need for Scale
Cloud-computing applications are characterized by stateful access, with differentiated service levels, charged to the end user using the pay-per-use pricing model. Implicit in this model is the assumption that a cloud application is always on. Scaling the cloud delivery model to an Internet scale (millions of users) is a challenge that next-generation Layer 4–7 infrastructure needs to overcome.

Scaling a cloud application involves scaling three mechanisms: location (mobility), replication, and load balancing. Virtualization was an early catalyst for cloud computing because it substantially lowered the cost of replication and mobility of a prepackaged application. It does not, however, solve the load-balancing problem. Load balancing involves scaling the address, name space, transport, session, identity, and business logic of the application. Clustering enables scaling of application business logic but leaves the rest of the problem to a proxy infrastructure.
Read More »

Tags: , , , , ,

Platform as a Service: The Next Big Opportunity for Communications Service Providers

The Route to PaaS

When cloud computing emerged a few years ago Communications Service Providers (CSPs) saw the opportunity to build the infrastructure layer and offer services on it. CSPs had data center facilities that when combined with their network assets created a cloud service offer with higher service delivery assurance than some alternatives. CSPs are now delivering infrastructure-based cloud services, especially Compute as a Service and Storage as a Service, to the public and to their large Enterprise customers in private cloud offers. As the cloud service model matures, providers who have invested in cloud infrastructure are finding that they are well positioned to evolve their Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) offerings into new service delivery models by leverage their services, systems, and expertise to take on the next great opportunity in cloud services which is Platform as a Service.

The Value of PaaS

PaaS is an integral component to development and delivery of cloud-based applications delivered as Software as a Service—or SaaS. Developing a PaaS offer gives CSPs the opportunity to take advantage of the huge and growing SaaS market and help to accelerate the development of SaaS offers. CSP’s can take an active role by leveraging their assets and developing their capabilities, via a PaaS offer, rather than just hosting and transporting SaaS services. The capability they can provide is to enable development and then deploy applications that are created using tools that they support on to their cloud infrastructure. PaaS enables CSPs to carve out a new and essential role in SaaS development and delivery, situated between software developers and end users, for both business and consumers.
Read More »

Tags: , , , ,

How Do You Balance Network Innovation with Standards?

June 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm PST

Do you recall what it was like before email? Nah, me neither. If you were around for the pre-email/pre-personal computer era, you may recall sending someone a letter written using a pen and paper. The only way the letter would arrive safely was (and still is) to affix a stamp to it. Feels like ancient history now when it’s possible to email a message around the globe within a matter of moments.

Suffice it to say, technology has advanced the method and speed at which we communicate. But innovation hasn’t happened in a vacuum; the standards governing the technology industry have evolved, too. Just imagine what your digital life would be like if we didn’t create standards. Would you want to put postage stamps on your email messages?

Of course, the question is, how do you balance innovation with standards? Without standards, you may miss out on the brilliant innovations that have come before (security and a framework that keeps things running smoothly, to name a couple). But rely too heavily on standards and you miss out on future innovation.

In our continuing coverage of the Seven Myths Around the Good-Enough Network on Silicon Angle, we explore myth number four--The Standards Myth.

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Curse You, UCS

June 1, 2011 at 10:00 am PST

I’m shaking my fist at the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  It’s making me let go of a Data Center solution that worked well in the past.

I worked for years on Cisco’s team that designed and managed our Data Centers.  In the early 2000s, hardware compaction strongly influenced our physical design.  Every few weeks it seemed a different manufacturer debuted a new server smaller and more powerful than its predecessor.  We could fit more gear into our cabinets and so found we had a lot more cabling to manage.  This was especially challenging in legacy Data Centers with cables routed below the under-floor plenum.  More cabling meant less airflow.  

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Secure desktop virtualization and more highlights from Citrix Synergy

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco.   The conference was buzzing with the latest innovations for desktop virtualization, data center and cloud.   

Secure desktop virtualization infrastructure is compelling for government agencies seeking strategies to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency, and provide control and security of centralized desktops and mobile multi-media clients. 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLnmpbc-Pi4

Read More »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,