The Glue that Binds: Cloud Management Software and the 7 Key Components of Private Clouds – Part 2

As previously promised, this is a continuation to my earlier blog post on the seven main requirements for successful private cloud deployments, and will outline exactly how Platform’s private cloud management software supports all seven key components. For those of you that aren’t yet familiar with Platform’s ISF product, it’s our private cloud management software, which we introduced to the market in June 2009.

As organizations evaluate how to evolve their internal infrastructures to a private cloud, I want to clearly delineate how Platform ISF can facilitate this evolution:
  1. Heterogeneous systems support – Adapters within the Platform ISF integrate distributed and heterogeneous IT resources to form a shared system. All major industry standard hardware, operating systems (including Linux and Windows) and VM hypervisors (including VMware ESX, Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Red Hat KVM) are supported. Adapters are also available for provisioning tools (IBM xCAT, Symantec Altiris, and Platform Cluster Manager) to set up application environments on demand.
  2. Integration with management tools – Platform ISF integrates with many third-party tools for various systems management tasks out-of-the- box, including directory services for user and account management, security, monitoring and alerting.
  3. Configurable resource allocation policies – Once a pool of shared resources is formed, a set of site-specific sharing policies is configured in the allocation engine to ensure that applications receive the required resources. These policies also make certain that the organization’s resource sharing priorities are applied, and that the quota constraints applicable to business groups sharing the cloud are reinforced. The allocation engine matches IT resource supplies to their demands based on resource-aware and application-aware policies. This private cloud “brain” is critical for IT agility.
  4. Integration with workload managers, middleware and applications – Platform ISF provides interfaces to users and applications as well as supporting the lifecycle of cloud service management. Templates can be configured for simple and complex N-tier business applications to automate their lifecycle management. Platform ISF allows for the starting of all the components of an N-tier application, the adding or removal of a resource, and monitoring and failure recovery. It also supports middleware such as J2EE, SOA, CEP and BPM, and workload schedulers such as AutoSys, Platform LSF and Symphony.
  5. Support IT and business processes – A self-service portal enables users to request and obtain physical servers and VMs in minutes instead of days or weeks. Platform ISF has a set of APIs that can be called by applications, middleware and workload managers to request and return resources without human intervention. The service offerings can be structured as: complete application environments (e.g., application packages, CPU, memory, storage and networking); as bare metal servers with an operating system installed; or as virtual machines. SLAs can be associated with each service offering.
  6. Extensible to external resources – Platform ISF integrates with many service provider environments (eg. Amazon Web Services via Amazon Virtual Private Cloud), enabling centralized access, management, tracking and billing of external services.
  7. Enterprise, not workgroup, solution – Built on a technology foundation found in large scale production environments, Platform ISF is scalable to hundreds of thousands of cores under management which enables IT to start small and feel confident that their cloud will grow as more services are added over time.
Lastly, beyond the seven key components of enterprise cloud deployments, Platform ISF also collects all resource usage data and provides reports and billing information. Alternatively, the cloud administrator may choose to feed the usage data into site-specific reporting and charge-back tools.

Below I’ve included our depiction of the private cloud management stack and the location of Platform ISF with its various capabilities.


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