In the Cloud, Performance Trumps Control

Arthur Cole

The enterprise faces a transitional year in 2013, but it is important to remember that the changes that will take place in the next 12 months are only a small portion of the evolution in data center infrastructure that will play out over the coming decade or more.

In a nutshell, the enterprise will find itself less and less concerned about the workings of infrastructure and focused more intently on how applications and data perform on whatever infrastructure they encounter. And while we’re still a long way from a completely stateless enterprise, at least in a real-world production sense, the fact remains that IT’s focus will shift from boxes and wires to the virtual layer and higher.

In essence, this will largely be a matter of improving data governance, according to Infosys’ Santosh Sardesai. As applications take on a greater role of accumulating not only the data they need to accomplish their tasks, but the underlying infrastructure as well, organizations will need to take greater care in setting the parameters regarding the use and dissemination of their data. In part, this can be accomplished through greater standardization and the elimination of data silos that still plague many environments. As well, CIOs need to think about establishing data processes and polices across the enterprise, even if some users grouse that it limits their flexibility.

And by enterprise-wide, I mean new mobile platforms, as well. 451 Research’s Chris Hazelton notes that with mobile infrastructure becoming more diverse through the BYOD movement, full control of physical infrastructure is highly unlikely. So instead of deploying mobile device management (MDM) or related middleware, the smart money is falling in behind applications/data management and security, which can be more easily deployed across multiple end-user device platforms.

Because application performance often relies on the smooth interaction between multiple physical, virtual and cloud platforms, many developers are seeking to provide as much openness to the management stacks as possible. eG Innovations, for example, recently added support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.1 as a means to provide a high degree of agility and continuity for both Linux and Windows workloads. The system provides a broad range of virtualization performance, auto-discovery and monitoring/maintenance tools designed to optimize resource utilization and data availability across disparate infrastructure.

And since the cloud is making up a larger and larger share of overall enterprise infrastructure, it will soon be the rare platform that doesn’t function on a cloud level. PerfCap has been busy expanding its PAWZ software with new CloudView components designed to enhance the system’s ability to provide enterprise-, data center-, cluster- and host-level views of virtual infrastructure. The platform provides virtual machine load balancing, transaction monitoring, system health statistics and performance tools for VMware ESX instances hosted in Windows environments.

With users demanding greater levels of flexibility and broad interoperability across unlimited platforms, the days of IT exerting complete control over the entire digital environment are quickly coming to a close. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since that loss of control ultimately nets greater performance levels and higher efficiency across both internal and external infrastructure.

It’s almost ironic, given that demands for greater performance coincide with a shrinking physical footprint.

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