Making Amazon Cloud Services Easier to Manage

Michael Vizard

There's obviously a lot of interest in using Amazon Web Services (AWS) as a cloud computing service, especially when it comes to application development. But the tools that Amazon provides for managing the AWS environment are fairly limited. This not only makes it difficult for many organizations to invoke AWS services, it can also lead to excessive charges because an organization can't easily turn off a virtual machine running on AWS.


The basic issue with AWS is that, as a service, the number of instances of virtual machines running on AWS can quickly escalate. Each of those instances increases the monthly fee for using AWS, so it's easy to see how "cloud sprawl" can lead to a sudden spike in fees.


To address that specific issue, OpDemand has created a service that allows IT organizations to start, stop, clone and destroy cloud applications on AWS with the click of a single button. According to OpDemand CTO Gabriel Monroy, the OpDemand Command and Control platform, scheduled to become generally available this quarter, provides a template approach to managing AWS environments. It's the responsibility of OpDemand, adds Monroy, to stay current with all the changes to the AWS environment, which offloads that task from the OpDemand customers.

 

Monroy says that it's becoming increasingly clear that once applications are developed on AWS, they tend to stay there once they are rolled out into production. The challenge facing IT organizations is how to manage those applications. Unfortunately, too many IT organizations want to manage those applications with the same manual processes they use to manage on-premise applications versus adopting a more modern template-driven approach to automating the entire process. In the case of OpDemand, that library of templates is built on top of a set of orchestration services that invoke a modeling language that OpDemand created to manage the AWS environment.


Ultimately, cloud computing is all about expanding the number of applications that any IT organization can afford to run. The challenge that comes with that assumption, however, is figuring out how to manage cloud computing environments at scale without having to continually throw more IT personnel at the problem.



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Jan 24, 2012 6:53 AM OBA OBA  says:

Choices are limited? There are several vendors in this space that have significant traction in SMB and Enterprise accounts.

A tool to start and stop servers on AWS? Was this an advertisement for OpDemand because there is nothing new or interesting about these features.

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Jan 25, 2012 11:44 AM MarkB MarkB  says:

There is an excellent alternative for both managing AWS costs and the nodes themselves. Bright Cluster Manager either extends existing servers into EC2, and manages these nodes as part of the local server, or can create a new server in EC2 on the fly, with a few mouse clicks. Either way, Bright provisions, schedules, monitors and manages the EC2 nodes via an intuitive user interface (or, for those who prefer command line interfaces, a powerful cluster shell). As part of this management, Bright powers up the EC2 nodes only when the application is ready to run, and then automatically shuts it down when finished. Check out a YouTube demo here: http://bit.ly/xTfeYE

or read more here: http://bit.ly/u1fkWo

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