Thursday, June 28, 2012

vCloud Director Allocation Models

VMware vCloud Director comes with three different allocation models - Allocation Pool, Pay-As-You-Go, and Reservation Pool. I am going to give a brief overview of the allocation models, and give you my perspective on the best option for an internal corporate environment.

Within an organization vDC you have multiple resource allocation methods each with their own inherent characteristics that can be placed in one of two categories: VM or resource pool.

Allocation Pool Model

The allocation model permits an organization to acquire a given amount of resource, yet has the capability to “burst” higher. Because the allocation pool only guarantees a specified percentage of the allocated resource, the remainder is not guaranteed and there is potential for contention with demand from other consumers.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The 10 Laws of Cloudonomics

Cloudonomics Law #1: Utility services cost less even though they cost more.
An on-demand service provider typically charges a utility premium — a higher cost per unit time for a resource than if it were owned, financed or leased. However, although utilities cost more when they are used, they cost nothing when they are not. Consequently, customers save money by replacing fixed infrastructure with clouds when workloads are spiky, specifically when the peak-to-average ratio is greater than the utility premium.

Cloudonomics Law #2: On-demand trumps forecasting.
The ability to rapidly provision capacity means that any unexpected demand can be serviced, and the revenue associated with it captured. The ability to rapidly de-provision capacity means that companies don’t need to pay good money for non-productive assets. Forecasting is often wrong, especially for black swans, so the ability to react instantaneously means higher revenues, and lower costs.

Cloudonomics Law #3: The peak of the sum is never greater than the sum of the peaks.
Enterprises deploy capacity to handle their peak demands – a tax firm worries about April 15th, a retailer about Black Friday, an online sports broadcaster about Super Sunday. Under this strategy, the total capacity deployed is the sum of these individual peaks. However, since clouds can reallocate resources across many enterprises with different peak periods, a cloud needs to deploy less capacity.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cloud Procurement

There is a new dynamic to IT infrastructure's role when taking on the responsibility of becoming the cloud broker for their organization, the art of procurement. This new skill set becomes self-evident when negotiating with an external cloud provider for new services.

In his technical brief Cloudonomics, Ben Kepes says some of the economic benefits of cloud computing include:

  • Lowering the opportunity cost of running technology
  • Allowing for a shift from capital expenditure to operating expenditure
  • Lowering total cost of ownership of technology
  • Giving organizations the ability to add business value by renewed focus on core activities

Mark Benioff from outlines the same benefits of cloud computing, "Our definition of Cloud Computing is multi-tenant, it's faster, half the cost, pay as you go, it grows as you grow or shrinks as you shrink. It is extremely efficient."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

IT Job Landscape

Recently there have been several interesting articles about the changing job landscape. This tectonic shift is being accelerated by large-scale movement in cloud computing and the aging IT population. There are two interesting sides to the conversation, both focusing on the dark clouds rolling in over the horizon. But, if we think about it critically, both aspects compliment each other.

Talent Drain

Massachusetts's Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, who was recently honored for his leadership in STEM, stated, "Retirements are expected to deplete the science and technology workforce by 50% over the next decade." 

I wrote about this topic back in April; in 10 to 12 years most the people I know in information technology, from infrastructure support to developers to IT leaders, will be near the end of their careers or retired. Scary! No really, it is very scary. A recent conversation I had with one of my colleagues reflects this sentiment; "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Only a couple more years before I retire." Fortunately, if history serves us right, when the market place opens up due to the significant retirements (estimated at 10,000 to 12,000 a day for the next 12 years) there will be a flood of ambitious young individuals diving into the IT job pool to take advantage of the burgeoning salaries. But will they have the skills required?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cloud Contract Considerations

There is another paradigm shift happening in business, in some ways it is very similar to the early days of virtualization, senior leadership didn't trust virtualization with mission critical applications until it was reassured that the technology provided the security, stability, and performance it had come to expect on a conventionally provisioned server. The same holds true for cloud service providers. In all likelihood, your IT executives are going to be comfortable with the perceived risks of moving an application to an external provider for the economic gains.
There are several aspects to cloud contracts that you should consider when working with a cloud service provider to move an application away from servers physically located within your datacenter. The contract with a cloud service provider is vital. The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) points out that cloud computing is not like normal outsourcing contracts, cloud service provider contracts tend to be far less rigorous than traditional outsourcing partners.

Many cloud services providers reserve the right to change all, or part of, the agreement once it is signed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

vCloud Director Limitations


While designing our vCloud Director environment we discovered several limitations you need to take into consideration. These limitations could have an impact on your overall design.

  • No support for multi-site vCloud Director deployments. For organizations that have a multiple campus locations, you can't use a single vCloud Director instance to manage your entire hosting platform. 
  • Moving a vApp with vCloud Connector is slow and requires and outage. We tested a single medium sized virtual machine move on our internal network and it took 45 minutes!
  • There is an 8 node cluster limitation while using Fast Provisioning with VMFS. It is the same limitation as VMware View. That limitation doesn't apply if you are using NFS. With NFS you can continue with the vSphere 5.0 limit of 32 hosts in a single cluster.
  • Fast Provisioning doesn't give you the same management capabilities that are found in VMware View. There is no centralized deployment method for application updates to linked clones. It makes sense, when you recompose with VMware View you lose all the saved data on the linked image. That would be bad in a server environment!
  • There is a 30 clone limitation when using Fast Provisioning, and as you get close to that limitation you can suffer latency issues.
  • There is no ability for different data stores and storage tiers for VMs that have diverse storage requirements in a vApp. That can become a limitation if you are trying to create a vApp for a marketing application that has a database VM that requires tier 1 storage and a web application that needs tier 3 storage. In this instance you would have to split your application up between multiple vApps based on the appropriate service class.
  • vCloud Director is not storage clustering or storage DRS aware.

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