Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Kong Yang

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Apache, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: 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.


@CloudExpo Stories
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Both SaaS vendors and SaaS buyers are going “all-in” to hyperscale IaaS platforms such as AWS, which is disrupting the SaaS value proposition. Why should the enterprise SaaS consumer pay for the SaaS service if their data is resident in adjacent AWS S3 buckets? If both SaaS sellers and buyers are using the same cloud tools, automation and pay-per-transaction model offered by IaaS platforms, then why not host the “shrink-wrapped” software in the customers’ cloud? Further, serverless computing, cl...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Join us at Cloud Expo June 6-8 to find out how to securely connect your cloud app to any cloud or on-premises data source – without complex firewall changes. More users are demanding access to on-premises data from their cloud applications. It’s no longer a “nice-to-have” but an important differentiator that drives competitive advantages. It’s the new “must have” in the hybrid era. Users want capabilities that give them a unified view of the data to get closer to customers and grow business. The...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
It is ironic, but perhaps not unexpected, that many organizations who want the benefits of using an Agile approach to deliver software use a waterfall approach to adopting Agile practices: they form plans, they set milestones, and they measure progress by how many teams they have engaged. Old habits die hard, but like most waterfall software projects, most waterfall-style Agile adoption efforts fail to produce the results desired. The problem is that to get the results they want, they have to ch...
Wooed by the promise of faster innovation, lower TCO, and greater agility, businesses of every shape and size have embraced the cloud at every layer of the IT stack – from apps to file sharing to infrastructure. The typical organization currently uses more than a dozen sanctioned cloud apps and will shift more than half of all workloads to the cloud by 2018. Such cloud investments have delivered measurable benefits. But they’ve also resulted in some unintended side-effects: complexity and risk. ...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists examined how DevOps helps to meet the de...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Cloud applications are seeing a deluge of requests to support the exploding advanced analytics market. “Open analytics” is the emerging strategy to deliver that data through an open data access layer, in the cloud, to be directly consumed by external analytics tools and popular programming languages. An increasing number of data engineers and data scientists use a variety of platforms and advanced analytics languages such as SAS, R, Python and Java, as well as frameworks such as Hadoop and Spark...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Automation is enabling enterprises to design, deploy, and manage more complex, hybrid cloud environments. Yet the people who manage these environments must be trained in and understanding these environments better than ever before. A new era of analytics and cognitive computing is adding intelligence, but also more complexity, to these cloud environments. How smart is your cloud? How smart should it be? In this power panel at 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, paneli...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Cloud promises the agility required by today’s digital businesses. As organizations adopt cloud based infrastructures and services, their IT resources become increasingly dynamic and hybrid in nature. Managing these require modern IT operations and tools. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Raj Sundaram, Senior Principal Product Manager at CA Technologies, will discuss how to modernize your IT operations in order to proactively manage your hybrid cloud and IT environments. He will be sharing bes...