Cloud Development Turns Toward Optimization

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Now that a good chunk of the enterprise industry is up on the cloud, researchers are turning their attention away from simple deployment and more toward optimization. This makes sense considering that without the ability to function at or near traditional infrastructure levels, the cloud will continue to serve as a mere adjunct to the data center rather than a full-fledged data environment in its own right.

But even as they seek to boost performance, optimization platforms are zeroing in on driving greater efficiency from cloud platforms, allowing enterprises and service providers to keep hardware footprints to a minimum as data volumes increase.

Oracle users, for example, should note that the company recently added SPARC and Solaris options to its Optimized Solution for Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure platform, aiming to cut overall TCO in half compared to rival HP and IBM solutions. At the same time, the company is promising to increase system utilization by 80 percent through tighter integration between hardware and software platforms like the SPARC-T server, Solaris 11, Oracle VM, the Sun ZFS storage appliance and Enterprise Manager Ops Center 12. A key component of the system is the Oracle VM template, which speeds up application deployment through preconfigured software images for applications like Oracle Database.

In fact, specialized application optimization is emerging as a key player in the overall cloud environment. Companies like Appcara are looking to break the one-to-one relationship between applications and servers, enabling highly dynamic environments in which applications can easily transfer from in-house infrastructure to the cloud, or across multiple cloud services. The company has tailored its software to create an application layer, which taps an automated database to draw up-to-the-moment component, configuration and management data that allow apps to be launched wherever they are needed. The process eliminates traditional server templates, as well as often complicated manual configuration processes.

Indeed, it's getting hard to find cloud management platforms that don't provide long-term resource and service optimization on top of rapid deployment and data migration capabilities. Adaptive Computer recently added a number of features to its Moab Cloud Suite designed to improve service design and delivery of high-performance cloud environments. The system features simplified policy and reservation management dashboards, as well as an enhanced set of visibility features like Splunk-ready event logging and intuitive field mapping.

And while the cloud may consist of many diverse elements, the fact is that most in-house enterprise infrastructures do as well. That means optimization suites have to deal with complexity on both ends to be truly effective. DynamicOps recently upgraded its Cloud Suite and Development Kit with tools like customizable self-service portals, new workflow editing tools and an expanded activity library aimed at supporting the various business units within the enterprise. The company relies on broad interoperability with existing data management platforms to tap into existing organizational knowledge rather than setting up entirely new data environments in the cloud.

The fact that organizations are quickly shifting their focus from cloud deployment to cloud optimization is a sign that the industry itself is maturing. Ultimately, with integrated management functions across physical, virtual and cloud environments, even IT technicians may soon be able to stop worrying about data infrastructure and concentrate more on data performance.