Integration Tales of Deploying on Amazon's Clouds

Loraine Lawson
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Integration is a huge point of discussion with the cloud; although, to be honest, most of what I read focuses on data integration with SaaS providers.


As organizations become more comfortable with the cloud, they're starting to experiment with running their own applications and data centers on public clouds - in particular, Amazon's cloud environments, Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud and Virtual Private Cloud. That's leading to more discussion about all the problems you'll encounter when using these clouds.


You probably won't be surprised to learn that, sure enough, integration tops the list of headaches for those who've experimented with cloud computing.

In fact, application integration is a big challenge, according to Christopher M. Moyer, vice president of technology at Newstex, LLC and author of a new book, "Building Applications in the Cloud."


"Integration with various data sources and 'middleware' is actually one of the most complicated things to achieve," Moyer told TechTarget back in January. "Eventually I suspect things will get easier as more and more companies embrace the idea of cloud computing. But until then, it's actually the most challenging thing about migrating to cloud computing."


Moyer's book discusses the challenges of deploying to any cloud - private or public - and how architects need to think about the cloud in order to use it most effectively, according to another TechTarget article.


The piece is well worth a read since it nicely sums up some of the ways architects will have to rethink applications when deploying to the cloud. For instance, you can't just think about the cloud as a huge computer that never goes down - because cloud servers do crash. Instead, you've got to think about points of failure and running things in parallel. In fact, he calls designing around your possible points of failure a "best practice" for cloud computing.


Still, availability remains one of the top drivers for adoption of cloud computing services, according to Jeff Loughridge of NetworkComputing.com.


Loughridge details his experience in working with Amazon's cloud environments in a recent post. Granted, it's heavily focused on networking rather than application architecture. But he does spend a good amount of space discussing data center integration, which he says is something many of his client companies are interested in.


Here's Loughridge's list - word for word - of what Amazon allows IT to do when integrating the data center:

  • Create subnets using private addresses in the RFC1918 space
  • Establish custom route tables
  • Deploy network access lists (ACLs) that provide protection at the subnet level
  • Pass configuration information to VMs using DHCP option sets
  • Connect securely to the data center using IPsec over the Internet or dedicated connections from AWS data centers to your data center


Integration may be tricky, but ultimately, argues Loughridge, Amazon's cloud services offers more flexibility at a more affordable price than most companies could achieve on their own.

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