Meet the Service-Driven Data Center: 5 Key Traits

Why might you want to add a business services layer to your data center's private cloud computing effort? John Stetic of Novell shares his opinion.

By John Stetic, VP of Product Management, Novell
Wed, December 22, 2010

CIO — Many organizations are asking whether it makes more sense to move their enterprise to the cloud — or bring cloud computing into their enterprise. And a surprising number are discovering that the best, most practical answer may be "both."

What does it mean to bring cloud computing into the data center? And exactly how do you go about creating and managing a data center infrastructure that provides all the advantages and benefits of cloud computing without needing to leave the enterprise? Basics like virtualization and workload management are certainly important.

But building private cloud is also about incorporating a "business services" layer of abstraction to your traditional data center infrastructure. In traditional data centers, computing power and storage capacity create the infrastructure to run server workloads, which are then used to run enterprise applications.

Adding this new business services layer logically groups these server workloads by the business services they support. This shifts the management focus to full business services — and away from the individual underlying components.

The exact nature of this new business services layer may vary depending on the unique requirements of your organization, but it needs to include a few core characteristics and capabilities. Here are a few of the non-negotiable functions every service-driven data center should be able to perform:

1. Simplify and accelerate the deployment of business services
Effective service-driven data centers dramatically simplify the provisioning process and reduce the time and effort required to deliver new business services. This includes automating as many steps of the deployment process as possible, so your infrastructure team spends less time on manual, low-value processes. Additionally, allowing business service managers and application owners more opportunities to perform a controlled set of limited management tasks themselves translates directly into higher service levels, more efficiency and fewer distractions for your infrastructure team.

2. Create, publish and deploy standard infrastructure offerings
A service-driven data center also provides a simple model for defining infrastructure offerings and making them available to business service managers. With the right management tools, you can build a flexible repository of standard infrastructure offerings — including things like standard server images, pools of storage capacity, standard network access, and so on — and then publish those offerings and make them available for fast, efficient deployment. This allows business service managers and application owners to browse through a list of available infrastructure services, assemble and customize the components they need, see the associated costs and then quickly deploy new workloads to support their business service.

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