7 Requirements for Building Your Cloud Infrastructure

IT groups creating a cloud strategy in 2011 should have seven key infrastructure considerations, say the CEO and CMO of Cloud.com. From standards to reporting, check out their advice.

By Sheng Liang, CEO, and Peder Ulander, CMO, Cloud.com
Tue, December 21, 2010

CIO — Today, service providers and enterprises interested in implementing clouds face the challenge of integrating complex software and hardware components from multiple vendors. The resulting system can end up being expensive to build and hard to operate, minimizing the original motives and benefits of moving to cloud computing. Cloud computing platforms are attractive because they let businesses quickly access hosted private and public resources on-demand without the complexities and time associated with the purchase, installation, configuration and deployment of traditional physical infrastructure.

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While 2010 was the year for talking about the cloud, 2011 will be the year for implementation. It is for this reason that it is important for service providers and enterprises to gain a better understanding of exactly what they need to build their cloud infrastructure. For both enterprises and service providers, the successful creation and deployment of cloud services will become the foundation for their IT operations for years to come making it essential to get it right from the start.

For the architect employed with building out a cloud infrastructure, there are seven key requirements that need to be addressed when building their cloud strategy. These requirements include:

1. Heterogeneous Systems Support

Not only should cloud management solutions leverage the latest hardware, virtualization and software solutions, but they should also support a data center's existing infrastructure. While many of the early movers based their solutions on commodity and open source solutions like general x86 systems running open source Xen and distributions like CentOS, larger service providers and enterprises have requirements around both commodity and proprietary systems when building out their clouds. Additionally, cloud management providers must integrate with traditional IT systems in order to truly meet the requirements of the data center. Companies that don't support technologies from the likes of Cisco, Red Hat, NetApp, EMC, VMware and Microsoft will fall short in delivering a true cloud product that fits the needs of the data center.

2. Service Management

To productize the functionality of cloud computing, it is important that administrators have a simple tool for defining and metering service offerings. A service offering is a quantified set of services and applications that end users can consume through the provider — whether the cloud is private or public. Service offerings should include resource guarantees, metering rules, resource management and billing cycles. The service management functionality should tie into the broader offering repository such that defined services can be quickly and easily deployed and managed by the end user.

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