Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Explore Cloud Computing today for a couple of quid!

The premise of the cloud is that there is almost no penalty for trying something and failing. Move some applications and try them out. You didn’t get the SLA or characteristics you were looking for? You’re only out a pound or two.

Of course the premise I’m making is that you don’t have to change anything in your services, applications, networking, or infrastructure to give this a try. I make the further premise that the cloud enablement software doesn’t require a services engagement to acquire, install, set up and configure, and manage operationally over time. This week, we made OpSource Cloud available. Give it a try. You can acquire, install, configure, move and run your applications today. No services required. You point us to your virtual machines, our software will automatically show you if they fit in the cloud, and after we’ve transferred them to the cloud, they will look and feel just like they do now, running in your on premise virtualized infrastructure. No engineering. No changes. No agents. No “additions” to your servers. No funny installers.

All this said, there are physics involved. I recommend a simple process that will result in immediate positive results in selecting candidate applications to move and run in the cloud, as well as in the confidence that comes from a “real test” involving complex multi-tier applications which are tied to both premise-naming services and other network services that cannot be moved out of your data center.

For a first application, I suggest finding something that has servers with relatively small disks. Moving disks over the internet can take time. Some ideas include an internal project server running a program management application, Wiki, or SharePoint. Or perhaps a development environment for a JBOSS application, or anything else based on an open source stack. Move and run this, and run the same load testing or characterization/acceptance tests you use today, and see how they perform.

For a second application, I suggest taking the web and application tiers of the three-tier application and moving them, leaving the data tier on-premise. Leave your management agents on those servers, and leave them joined to the same domain if they are Windows servers, or using the same naming services. Don’t be concerned if the servers have NFS or CIFS mounts to on-premise NAS storage.

For a more in-depth test, go ahead and move development environments for applications such as PeopleSoft, Siebel, or SAP into the cloud and develop your applications there. Extra desktops for developers make a good initial application to move, as do development support servers such as continuous build, defect tracking, and source code repositories.

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