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Cloud Computing (IaaS)

“Cloud Computing” is a new magical word and every IT people raves this one for quite some time. There is a debate and confusion as whether it is a “technology” or a “service model”. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues believe it is a Technology. Maybe, it is bonded with latest virtualization technology. But, it is a kind of service model, a new way to offering service for a customer.

Cloud computing offers 3 kind of major services:
1. PaaS (Platform as a Service)
2. SaaS (Software as a Service)
3. IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

Also, there are other services such as “Storage as a Service” and “Desktop as a Service”

But, I am going to talk about IaaS model in this post.

IaaS is one very commonly required service model for any organizations for short-term development, Testing and educational purpose. In IaaS, users can manage their respective system. What exactly IaaS offer is, a Virtual Machine (VM). It could be self provisioned and manageable by the end user. A combination of an infrastructure stack and management stack provides an IaaS model. Please see the diagram:

The Infrastructure Stack consists of your storage, networking, hardware (x86), hypervisor (VMware/KVM/XEN) and VM images.
The management stack consists of dynamic resource management, automatic provisioning and workflow of approvals, chargeback to the customer, monitoring the underlying hardware and virtual machines and Backup/DR plans.
The management stack also provides a web interface to the end-user for manage their VMs such as Powering ON/OFF, reset and console redirection.

The web interface will have 3-tier workflow control for approvals:
1. Cloud Administrator
2. Cloud Manager
3. Cloud User

Cloud Administrator is who the one is going to manage the cloud environment such as creating golden images, provisioning them to approved cloud user, managing the cloud users and monitoring the cloud environment.

Cloud Manager is responsible for approving/rejecting the cloud user requests and chargeback to the cloud user.

Cloud user will be using the requested VMs and manage themselves. They can choose the any OS image and application that I can install on the VMs.

I have been in the long discussions with many vendors for build private cloud for my organization. In recent talks with IBM, seems to be attractive. They are offering pre integrated solution for IaaS model, eventually; I am not convinced with that. I would like to have a solution where my existing infrastructure resources (Hardware/Hypervisor/Storage) can be used to build a cloud. IBM is smart again. They have suite of tools to do this. But, I am seeing a problem with these IBM products as a vendor locking. They are supporting VMware ESX hypervisors only. But, they promised that XEN hypervisor will be supported in next quarter. Hyper-V is out of their roadmap for 2010. Eventually, the main aspect of Cloud Computing called "Elasticity" is missing all those products.

Since IBM supports only VMware now, I can definitely go with VMware vCloud APIs and build my own cloud interfaces. vCloud API can be downloaded and customized. Thinking of why should I go with IBM and spend some thousand dollars with them. A positive side of using the vCloud APIs, I can cut down the software cost, the negative side of this, time line that would take us to build the application. There are some pros and cons with both approaches. However, There are other player in Cloud Computing (IaaS) model such as BMC, EMC IONIX and Enomaly. There are some useful Open Source, they are good PoCs.


Your postings are good...

I need comparision of ESX 2, ESX 3, ESX 4
what the features they have ?
venkey said…
Hi Shan

This is what you discussed with me as amazon(Amazon Elastic
Compute Cloud) providing AWS Management console does. not sure..correct me if i am wrong
venkey said…
by the way nice article. wish you good luck for Implement a Cloud.
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