Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Brad Anderson, Liz McMillan, Christopher Campbell

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Apache, Security

Cloud Expo: Article

Understanding the Impact of Your Workload on Your Cloud Infrastructure

Deploying dynamic and scalable websites

Enterprises are quickly realizing that their future success is dependent on their ability to adapt their business to the Cloud. That realization however comes with more questions and concerns about executing an effective cloud-based strategy. The explosion of the OpenStack community has made it possible for hosting providers and businesses to create or utilize Amazon-like public and private clouds, but it's clear that the Cloud is not a one-size-fits-all solution. One prime factor that dictates the success of a cloud computing strategy is the particular workload an enterprise is tackling. From DevOps, to rapidly deploying dynamic and scalable websites, enterprises' workload needs should dictate their cloud architecture.

The specific workloads have an impact on many elements of the cloud, particularly the architecture of the infrastructure. It becomes clear how integral infrastructure architecture is to meeting workload requirements as we examine specific workload use cases.

The first element to consider in the architecture of cloud infrastructure is computing power. The number and speed of compute nodes within a cloud configuration will dictate how quickly processes can be executed. This comes into play prominently when assessing a workload, as the computing power required to develop a web app pales in comparison to the compute power required to execute Big Data analysis. Large-scale data analysis projects require powerful compute capabilities. While this kind of project is completely within the purview of well-constructed cloud architectures, that architecture must be designed as such.

The next integral ingredient to a cloud's architecture is the storage architecture. There are several different types of storage that vary in availability, resiliency and transactional performance. Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) provides a multi-tenant object storage environment, while block storage, like Amazon EBS, provides a persistent storage target. Typically an enterprise architecture would require a multi-level SAN architecture that provided enough IOPS (input/outputs) for the storage of the VMs as well as the transactional block storage. As flash storage has matured, it has become possible to collapse the typical storage architecture, running virtual machine operating systems and persistent transactional data on the same tier.

Another variable that's worth pointing out is that of data access speeds. While one might have a large element of storage space, the ability to quickly access the data stored within is a factor in developing infrastructure for particular workloads.

The last vector for consideration is that of density. In many datacenters, space is readily available. However, that may not always be the case. Compact and energy-efficient datacenter hardware systems take up less space in a datacenter, thereby saving space and presumably cost. However, dense hardware tends to be more expensive - making the proposition contingent upon cost per square foot versus the cost of denser hardware. One must also consider the power density per square foot as this varies widely depending on the data center. This kind of determination must be made based on ad hoc criteria and circumstances. Less dense solutions tend to also be less power-efficient, bringing an additional cost point of analysis into the picture.

Dissecting DevOps
DevOps is a term that has gained quite a bit of notoriety in recent years, as enterprises acknowledge the interdependence of IT operations and software development teams. DevOps aficionados are looking to cloud technology as a means to more closely align the two groups' respective goals, which tend to be fundamentally at odds.

The DevOps operation means creating a cloud environment that allows developers to quickly self-service launch the necessary build and test virtual machines required to create the artifacts used in a continuous delivery pipeline. This kind of pipeline requires that the main code base (often referred to as the trunk or mainline) be constantly in the "green" state and execute with no fatal errors. One of the fundamental keys to creating that pipeline is rapidly rebuilding and unit testing any changed code. Some development shops rebuild on every code check-in by every developer, while others take a less extreme approach and build every ten minutes or on the hour.

The success that can be achieved by a continuous build environment is largely dependent on a fast, well-orchestrated infrastructure. In this use-case, an IT manager will seek out a cloud architecture that launches and kills virtual machines (VMs) quickly, and includes highly accessible storage. Depending on the specifics, this could result in a cloud that combines a large amount of IOPS to quickly launch the VMs and perform the workload.

Deploying Dynamic and Scalable Websites
There's arguably no greater beneficiary of cloud computing than a company that repeatedly launches similar websites. Let's take a media company as an example that delivers entertainment content across its platform. Critical to this company's success is delivering existing and new content through rapidly changing websites. Powering this are innovative applications that provide interactive experiences that engage and create a loyal user base. For this particular type of workload, developers require automated provisioning and flexible storage and compute options, as different launches require different demands, such as a UGC contest demanding greater storage and an MMORPG video game that requires a compute-intensive environment.

These requirements often vary in their scope but are consistent in their frequency, so it is vital to eliminate the need for repetitive, time-consuming tasks such as installing and configuring commonly used website software like databases and web servers. Well-made templates can be re-used and when consistency is maintained automatically, system administrators can focus on higher-value tasks rather than performing repairs. Where other workloads may have a narrow scope, elasticity and flexibility within compute, storage and data access elements is required to effectively and efficiently deploy dynamic and scalable websites.

Approaching High Performance Computing Animation
One interesting HPC application of cloud technologies is that of animation rendering. Over the years the animation industry has used various computer hardware and software technologies to automate the steps in the production process. Because many of these steps require high-performance computing systems with significant CPU and IOPs capabilities, animation shops have often relied on purpose-built hardware and software systems for their peak capacity. With the advent of server virtualization, high-speed solid state drives (SSDs) and standards-based cloud platforms, animators are taking a closer look at the benefits of cloud technology. In order for these workloads to be efficient and effective in the cloud, high power computing must be coupled with high IOPs, as virtual machines must be launched and deprovisioned as short lived but CPU-intensive tasks.

Designing an infrastructure around a particular workload is a process that requires comprehensive understanding of the basic functions of the workload in question, and while optimizing an infrastructure for a particular workload can present some front-end hurdles, the efficiency and potential cost savings in the long run are significant, as managers can focus resources on a particularly impactful element of their architecture.

More Stories By Christopher Aedo

Christopher Aedo is senior director of technical operations at Morphlabs where he oversees the technology and operations side. He found his niche early in his career while helping a global accounting firm move their information systems from an IBM mainframe to a distributed network of Novell and SCO Unix servers. He is currently focused on making it easy for technology groups to move their infrastructure and applications from bare-metal or virtualized servers into public and private clouds.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Simply defined the SDDC promises that you’ll be able to treat “all” of your IT infrastructure as if it’s completely malleable. That there are no restrictions to how you can use and assign everything from border controls to VM size as long as you stay within the technical capabilities of the devices. The promise is great, but the reality is still a dream for the majority of enterprises. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, EVP, Data Center Tech, at SUPERNAP, will cover where and how a business might benefit from SDDC and also why they should or shouldn’t attempt to adopt today.
MapDB is an Apache-licensed open source database specifically designed for Java developers. The library uses the standard Java Collections API, making it totally natural for Java developers to use and adopt, while scaling database size from GBs to TBs. MapDB is very fast and supports an agile approach to data, allowing developers to construct flexible schemas to exactly match application needs and tune performance, durability and caching for specific requirements.
APIs came about to help companies create and manage their digital ecosystem, enabling them not only to reach more customers through more devices, but also create a large supporting ecosystem of developers and partners. While Facebook, Twitter and Netflix were the early adopters of APIs, large enterprises have been quick to embrace the concept of APIs and have been leveraging APIs as a connective tissue that powers all interactions between their customers, partners and employees. As enterprises embrace APIs, some very specific Enterprise API Adoption patterns and best practices have started emerging. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will talk about the most common enterprise API patterns and will discuss how enterprises can successfully launch an API program.
The social media expansion has shown just how people are eager to share their experiences with the rest of the world. Cloud technology is the perfect platform to satisfy this need given its great flexibility and readiness. At Cynny, we aim to revolutionize how people share and organize their digital life through a brand new cloud service, starting from infrastructure to the users’ interface. A revolution that began from inventing and designing our very own infrastructure: we have created the first server network powered solely by ARM CPU. The microservers have “organism-like” features, differentiating them from any of the current technologies. Benefits include low consumption of energy, making Cynny the ecologically friendly alternative for storage as well as cheaper infrastructure, lower running costs, etc.
Next-Gen Cloud. Whatever you call it, there’s a higher calling for cloud computing that requires providers to change their spots and move from a commodity mindset to a premium one. Businesses can no longer maintain the status quo that today’s service providers offer. Yes, the continuity, speed, mobility, data access and connectivity are staples of the cloud and always will be. But cloud providers that plan to not only exist tomorrow – but to lead – know that security must be the top priority for the cloud and are delivering it now. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Kurt Hagerman, Chief Information Security Officer at FireHost, will detail why and how you can have both infrastructure performance and enterprise-grade security – and what tomorrow's cloud provider will look like.
Today, developers and business units are leading the charge to cloud computing. The primary driver: faster access to computing resources by using the cloud's automated infrastructure provisioning. However, fast access to infrastructure exposes the next friction point: creating, delivering, and operating applications much faster. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Bernard Golden, VP of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss why solving the next friction point is critical for true cloud computing success and how developers and business units can leverage service catalogs, frameworks, and DevOps to achieve the true goal of IT: delivering increased business value through applications.
Web conferencing in a public cloud has the same risks as any other cloud service. If you have ever had concerns over the types of data being shared in your employees’ web conferences, such as IP, financials or customer data, then it’s time to look at web conferencing in a private cloud. In her session at 14th Cloud Expo, Courtney Behrens, Senior Marketing Manager at Brother International, will discuss how issues that had previously been out of your control, like performance, advanced administration and compliance, can now be put back behind your firewall.
More and more enterprises today are doing business by opening up their data and applications through APIs. Though forward-thinking and strategic, exposing APIs also increases the surface area for potential attack by hackers. To benefit from APIs while staying secure, enterprises and security architects need to continue to develop a deep understanding about API security and how it differs from traditional web application security or mobile application security. In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Sachin Agarwal, VP of Product Marketing and Strategy at SOA Software, will walk you through the various aspects of how an API could be potentially exploited. He will discuss the necessary best practices to secure your data and enterprise applications while continue continuing to support your business’s digital initiatives.
The revolution that happened in the server universe over the past 15 years has resulted in an eco-system that is more open, more democratically innovative and produced better results in technically challenging dimensions like scale. The underpinnings of the revolution were common hardware, standards based APIs (ex. POSIX) and a strict adherence to layering and isolation between applications, daemons and kernel drivers/modules which allowed multiple types of development happen in parallel without hindering others. Put simply, today's server model is built on a consistent x86 platform with few surprises in its core components. A kernel abstracts away the platform, so that applications and daemons are decoupled from the hardware. In contrast, networking equipment is still stuck in the mainframe era. Today, networking equipment is a single appliance, including hardware, OS, applications and user interface come as a monolithic entity from a single vendor. Switching between different vendor'...
Cloud backup and recovery services are critical to safeguarding an organization’s data and ensuring business continuity when technical failures and outages occur. With so many choices, how do you find the right provider for your specific needs? In his session at 14th Cloud Expo, Daniel Jacobson, Technology Manager at BUMI, will outline the key factors including backup configurations, proactive monitoring, data restoration, disaster recovery drills, security, compliance and data center resources. Aside from the technical considerations, the secret sauce in identifying the best vendor is the level of focus, expertise and specialization of their engineering team and support group, and how they monitor your day-to-day backups, provide recommendations, and guide you through restores when necessary.
Cloud scalability and performance should be at the heart of every successful Internet venture. The infrastructure needs to be resilient, flexible, and fast – it’s best not to get caught thinking about architecture until the middle of an emergency, when it's too late. In his interactive, no-holds-barred session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will dive into how to design and build-out the right cloud infrastructure.
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. What about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today’s databases are anything but agile – they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver on new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application and business needs change, data repositories and structures get outmoded rapidly, resulting in increased work for application developers and slow performance for end users. Further, as data sizes grow into the Big Data realm, this problem is exacerbated and becomes even more difficult to address. A seemingly simple schema change can take hours (or more) to perform, and as requirements evolve the disconnect between existing data structures and actual needs diverge.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SherWeb, a long-time leading provider of cloud services and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. A worldwide hosted services leader ranking in the prestigious North American Deloitte Technology Fast 500TM, and Microsoft's 2013 World Hosting Partner of the Year, SherWeb provides competitive cloud solutions to businesses and partners around the world. Founded in 1998, SherWeb is a privately owned company headquartered in Quebec, Canada. Its service portfolio includes Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Dynamics CRM and more.
The world of cloud and application development is not just for the hardened developer these days. In their session at 14th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will pull back the curtain of the architecture of a fun demo application purpose-built for the cloud. They will focus on demonstrating how they leveraged compute, storage, messaging, and other cloud elements hosted at SoftLayer to lower the effort and difficulty of putting together a useful application. This will be an active demonstration and review of simple command-line tools and resources, so don’t be afraid if you are not a seasoned developer.
SYS-CON Events announced today that BUMI, a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 14th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Manhattan-based BUMI (Backup My Info!) is a premium managed service provider specializing in data backup and recovery. Founded in 2002, the company’s Here, There and Everywhere data backup and recovery solutions are utilized by more than 500 businesses. BUMI clients include professional service organizations such as banking, financial, insurance, accounting, hedge funds and law firms. The company is known for its relentless passion for customer service and support, and has won numerous awards, including Customer Service Provider of the Year and 10 Best Companies to Work For.