Managed Services Come to the Cloud

Michael Vizard
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Tips for Finding a Reputable Cloud Provider

There were two separate announcements today concerning the launch of managed services offerings for systems deployed by public cloud infrastructure.

The first one comes from OpSource in the form of a Managed Service for the Cloud offering, while Rackspace Hosting coincidentally announced a similar Managed Cloud for Cloud Servers service. Both vendors are claiming to offer the first managed services offering for the cloud, even though there are probably other hosting providers that would claim that they have been doing the same thing for some customers without necessarily advertising it as such.

What's interesting about this is that the nuance between a managed service in the cloud and your garden-variety managed hosting agreement basically comes down to two simple distinctions: In a cloud implementation, the IT infrastructure is shared; in a managed hosting environment, the IT infrastructure is dedicated.

As managed hosting has been around for a while, you might wonder what the big deal is. But as Keao Caindec, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for OpSource notes, some companies need more hand-holding than others when it comes to transitioning to the cloud. They simply don't have the people or the skills needed to manage remote virtual servers running somewhere outside of their existing IT environment.

If you're starting to feel that the number of variants of cloud computing is starting to perhaps make the whole concept dissipate a little more, you're probably not alone. But when you get right down to it, there are four basic things to remember:


  • You can build your own private cloud on your premise.

  • You can deploy a private cloud on a third-party cloud computing service.

  • You can deploy a private cloud on a third-party cloud computing service and have them manage it.

  • You can simply access some shared IT infrastructure running on a public cloud.

The odds are good that sometime in the next two years, your organization will be employing all four of these options to one degree or another. So rather than getting caught up in all the nomenclature, the thing you really need to remember is that the cloud is now a lot like Burger King: You can have it your way.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jan 17, 2011 10:23 AM dramil dodeja dramil dodeja  says:

Balance workload in a cloud environment


In a cloud environment, a threshold policy is a desired, important attribute - it is used to check and manage resources when workload demands need to be balanced dynamically after reaching a predetermined threshold level.The policy tells the system to create instances of the necessary resources depending how much workload demands exceed the threshold level.

Before I go into more detail on considerations for establishing and using a threshold policy to dynamically balance workload demands by automatically creating and releasing resource instances, let's define threshold policy in this context.

Threshold policy overview

Let's look at a few key attributes of threshold policy.

Response times

The response period between the time the system detects workload demands reaching the threshold level and the time it creates the additional resource instances must be as near to instantaneous as possible.When workload demands return to a point below the threshold level, the system will de-allocate these resources and put them to other use.

Influential considerations

The information that should be in a threshold policy is influenced by


  • The type of cloud service the consumer rents.


  • How much control the consumer has over the operating systems, hardware, and software.


  • The type of industry the consumer is in (for example, retail, energy and utilities, financial markets, healthcare, and chemical and petroleum).

The service provider and the policy

The cloud service provider may be either internal within an organization-controlled data center or hosted externally by a member of the telecommunication industry (such as IBM).The provider must ensure integration with back-office systems so that ordering, provisioning, metering, rating and charging, billing and other functions support consumer activities and transactions.

How threshold policy can be applied

As an example, a retail industry consumer of a cloud service had a large-scale application at a data center that did credit card validation in the cloud while workload demands were below the threshold level.When the Christmas buying season crunch hit, the system detected higher workload demands exceeding the threshold level.In response, the system quickly created additional instances of resources to balance workload demands dynamically.

As the retailer moved out of the buying crunch, the workload demands fell below the threshold level so instances of the resources in the cloud that were created were freed up.Since the organization has some controls over the hardware, they are able to negotiate with the cloud service provider on the terms set in the threshold policy.(It's always good to negotiate the parameters of the policy before the buying crunch.)

The remainder of this article provides some background on cloud services types and shows you how a threshold policy for a cloud type can be different from the policy for another cloud type.It discusses threshold policies on resource management for application testing, production, and capacity planning and looks at some of the more important issues to consider, such as impacts of a threshold policy on a service level agreement (SLA). Reply

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