There has long been a debate on what exactly cloud computing is and how it can benefit IT and business. Unfortunately, some providers have chosen to provide a ‘cloud computing’ model that is as vague and undefined as its namesake.
Get Past the Definition Paralysis
The National institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition of cloud computing lists 5 defining characteristics:
- “On-Demand Self-Service: The user of the cloud must be able to provision computing resources, as required, without the assistance of human interaction with the provider of each resource. Resources can include server processing time and storage.
- Broad Network Access: The above mentioned computing resources must be available over the network via a wide array of client platforms.
- Resource Pooling: The various physical and virtual computing resources of the cloud must be pooled so that resources can be dynamically assigned and reassigned to different consumers based on demand.
- Rapid Elasticity: The total resource allotment to all consumers can be elastically provisioned and de-provisioned according to demand. The total resources can often appear to be unlimited to consumers and should be able to be appropriated at any time.
- Measured Service: The cloud service should employ network intelligence and analytics to dynamically track and optimize resource allocation. “
Cloud Scaling Requires Automated Provisioning and Resource Governance
If you’re looking to implement a private cloud in your organization, one of the most critical elements is the ability to automate IT processes to reduce reliance on human interaction. The need for resources to be rapidly provisioned and de-provisioned would be dramatically impeded if each step in the provisioning sequence were dependent upon another person who may have prior obligations, or be altogether unavailable. Similarly, the self-service requirement effectively eliminates the possibility of ‘broken telephone’ in the provisioning process, such as the incorrect naming of DNS Records when provisioning virtual devices.
What you need is a centralized and user-friendly platform that can be designed to interact with various systems in the provisioning sequence. Asset management and issue tracking systems should be automatically updated to comply with your business requirements. Also, the platform should integrate with hypervisors for the administration of virtual infrastructures. The solution stack should offer means of monitoring and reporting on resource utilization so that additional resources can be provisioned as required, and also to mitigate concerns of service contract violations. Finally, an end-user shouldn’t need to know how much of a resource they require, as the cloud infrastructure should dynamically add/remove that from their pool of resources.
To reach the full potential of cloud, you need a service/platform that provides all of the above features. The platform must be user-friendly so you can access the computing resources you need without requiring a deep understanding of the technology.