|By Ellen Rubin||
|July 13, 2010 09:40 AM EDT||
Years ago I had the privilege of helping to grow Bladelogic from early-stage startup to a profitable organization of over 300 people. In the early days one of my first challenges was figuring out how to show our product to prospective customers effectively. I needed to show our ability to manage a large IT infrastructure but I had to do so without actually dragging a data center to each of our sales calls. (My first attempt involved renting a fleet of trucks but visitor parking turned out to be a real challenge.) As I look back on that situation now, I realize that CloudSwitch offers a perfect solution to this “data center in a box” problem. In this article I’ll walk through the use case and describe a new CloudSwitch feature, Sample VMs, which makes this possible.
The first step toward a virtual data center is to use virtualization, of course. In late 2001 VMware released the third major version of their Workstation product. Given my demonstration requirement, I bought a copy of Workstation, found the biggest “mainstream” laptop available at the time, filled it with memory, and deployed as many VMs as it would run without completely falling over. Depending on the end user’s patience, that number was somewhere between four and six. While not exactly a world-class data center, the end result served us well for demonstration purposes. It was, however, limited in capacity, slow, expensive, and difficult to maintain.
In retrospect, what we really needed was a way to:
- Quickly start new servers and turn them off when finished;
- Use existing, internal virtual servers or public server images; and
- Connect to these servers as if they were on the local network.
Fast-forward nearly ten years and the first of these points—utility capacity on demand—is all but ubiquitous courtesy of providers like Amazon and Terremark. We of course know this as “the cloud” and companies use it every day for a variety of reasons. The second two points are more interesting.
Today’s cloud providers have implemented their platforms on a particular virtualization solution—and in many cases they’ve customized these solutions to suit the needs of their product offering. This is of course perfectly natural, however one practical effect is that end users cannot simply take their own virtual machines and expect to run them within a given cloud provider’s environment. The reasons vary—different virtualization solution, different underlying hardware, different capabilities—but the end result is always the same: cloud providers will not allow end users to upload custom VMs and run them. For this, CloudSwitch is needed.
One of CloudSwitch’s fundamental benefits is the ability to run customers’ virtual servers in whichever cloud provider is most appropriate, regardless of the underlying implementation details. After deploying our appliance, users can select virtual servers within their internal VMware environment and migrate them to a public cloud provider such as Amazon or Terremark without being forced to modify those servers in any way. No additional software or configuration change is required for this to work. Users literally “point and click” to migrate virtual servers from their data center into a cloud provider.
In many cases, users want to leverage the cloud but don’t want to migrate existing servers. CloudSwitch supports this approach as well. With the recent GA release, CloudSwitch allows customers to select from a set of public “Sample VMs” for access to cloud capacity. Customers can use these sample VMs for a variety of purposes—evaluation, production, or anything in between. Further, since these machines have already been moved into the cloud, starting them is quick and efficient. Current Sample VMs include a stock Centos 5.4 base image, SugarCRM, and BugZilla running on a Windows OS. We’re expanding the list of Sample VMs based on a range of customer use cases, and have plans to include many open source and partner products.
The final point—seamless connectivity—speaks to the way cloud providers offer connectivity to their instances. Today, each provider has chosen a particular network architecture for delivery of their services. For example, if you start a Linux instance in Amazon’s EC2 service and run “ifconfig eth0” you will likely see a 10.x.x.x IP address assigned to the interface. This is because Amazon has chosen the 10.0.0.0/8 private address space for connectivity to customer instances. Other cloud providers use different addressing schemes but regardless these are different and disconnected from what customers are using within their own data centers. Further, secure connectivity to these instances is not convenient and in many cases is not possible. CloudSwitch addresses this problem as well.
As part of the deployment process, CloudSwitch automatically creates a secure overlay network within the chosen cloud provider’s environment. This overlay network extends a customer’s internal data center into the cloud so the cloud-based servers are part of the customer’s data center network. When migrating existing servers into the cloud, end users see no difference; they can SSH or RDP to migrated instances without even realizing that their servers are no longer running within the data center.
So, CloudSwitch offers a way to leverage the power of the public cloud without forcing end users to change the way their infrastructure is configured. We also offer a set of sample content customers can use if they simply want to establish a footprint in the cloud without migrating existing servers. Finally, end users connect to cloud servers just as if they were running within the data center network. The implication for my “data center in a box” use case is probably obvious: I could have installed the CloudSwitch Appliance on my sales engineers’ laptops, created a set of demo servers in the public cloud, and used these for field sales activity. We would have saved money on the laptops but more importantly my team would have been more effective.
Ultimately the cloud is about better service delivery. Better can certainly mean less expensive but in my case better would have meant more effectively expressing the value of our product to prospective customers. Regardless of the definition, CloudSwitch offers a simple, secure, and effective way to leverage the cloud. Since the early startup days in 2001 my goal hasn’t really changed much; I still want the opportunity to show you how our product can make you more effective. The difference is I finally have my “data center in a box” to prove it to you (and I don’t have to take up all of your visitor parking spots).
Using new techniques of information modeling, indexing, and processing, new cloud-based systems can support cloud-based workloads previously not possible for high-throughput insurance, banking, and case-based applications. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, John Newton, CTO, Founder and Chairman of Alfresco, described how to scale cloud-based content management repositories to store, manage, and retrieve billions of documents and related information with fast and linear scalability. He addres...
Jul. 25, 2016 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 978
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Jul. 25, 2016 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 937
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
Jul. 25, 2016 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,681
Ixia (Nasdaq: XXIA) has announced that NoviFlow Inc.has deployed IxNetwork® to validate the company’s designs and accelerate the delivery of its proven, reliable products. Based in Montréal, NoviFlow Inc. supports network carriers, hyperscale data center operators, and enterprises seeking greater network control and flexibility, network scalability, and the capacity to handle extremely large numbers of flows, while maintaining maximum network performance. To meet these requirements, NoviFlow in...
Jul. 25, 2016 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 386
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,968
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Jul. 25, 2016 02:45 PM EDT Reads: 849
The competitive landscape of the global cloud computing market in the healthcare industry is crowded due to the presence of a large number of players. The large number of participants has led to the fragmented nature of the market. Some of the major players operating in the global cloud computing market in the healthcare industry are Cisco Systems Inc., Carestream Health Inc., Carecloud Corp., AGFA Healthcare, IBM Corp., Cleardata Networks, Merge Healthcare Inc., Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp., an...
Jul. 25, 2016 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 859
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Jul. 25, 2016 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 942
Continuous testing helps bridge the gap between developing quickly and maintaining high quality products. But to implement continuous testing, CTOs must take a strategic approach to building a testing infrastructure and toolset that empowers their team to move fast. Download our guide to laying the groundwork for a scalable continuous testing strategy.
Jul. 25, 2016 01:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,899
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
Jul. 25, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,927
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
Jul. 25, 2016 12:15 PM EDT Reads: 442
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Jul. 25, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,817
“Being the one true cloud-agnostic and storage-agnostic software solution, more and more customers are coming to Commvault and saying ' What do you recommend? What's your best practice for implementing cloud?” explained Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist at Commvault, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,668
Security, data privacy, reliability and regulatory compliance are critical factors when evaluating whether to move business applications from in-house client hosted environments to a cloud platform. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Vandana Viswanathan, Associate Director at Cognizant, In this session, will provide an orientation to the five stages required to implement a cloud hosted solution validation strategy.
Jul. 25, 2016 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 878
As companies gain momentum, the need to maintain high quality products can outstrip their development team’s bandwidth for QA. Building out a large QA team (whether in-house or outsourced) can slow down development and significantly increases costs. This eBook takes QA profiles from 5 companies who successfully scaled up production without building a large QA team and includes: What to consider when choosing CI/CD tools How culture and communication can make or break implementation
Jul. 25, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,581