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Data center operators can benefit from automation

By Max Burkhalter
September 28, 2011
More data center operators are turning to the private cloud, whether to manage their own systems or offer services to clients. However, a recent CloudTweaks report explained developing private cloud infrastructure can be challenging for businesses and should be approached with careful strategic planning.

To resolve the complexity of the private cloud, the report said companies should depend on automation. According to the news source, cloud computing is essentially an evolution of virtualization. At the earliest point of virtualization, businesses simply partition servers to improve utilization rates. As the virtual infrastructure matures, the way virtual machines communicate becomes more important, servers are provisioned more rapidly and automation begins to become necessary. At this stage, the report said most private cloud plans hit a bit of a wall as virtualization proves too complex to easily build into the cloud.

To resolve this issue, the report said innovative automation solutions for VM provisioning, change, configuration and asset management need to be developed. Automating these IT processes will enable the private cloud, where virtual machines are completely detached from physical hardware and are able to move freely from server to server as needs dictate and network systems allow.

From a conceptual point of view, this process entails transforming IT from a department that manages infrastructure to a group that takes care of services, according to the news source. The automation platform is designed to handle infrastructure maintenance and management, freeing IT workers to focus on obtaining services. This turns them into a group that emphasizes discovering the best applications and resources to consume so the company can be productive and meet service level agreements.

To make all of this work, data center operators also need to upgrade the network. In most facilities, there are two primary conduits for traffic. The first, north to south, is historically more common as it handles network transmissions from the core out to the edge and end users. This is where most data has traditionally been sent through the network. However, most industry experts agree that virtualization and cloud computing are making east to west traffic, which constitutes data sent over the network between servers, more important. As a result, effectively deploying the cloud in data centers may require automation and networking upgrades.


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