Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Ed Featherston, Rostyslav Demush, Jamie Madison, Jason Bloomberg, Greg Pierce

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog, FinTech Journal

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

The Language of Provisioning By @DMacVittie | @CloudExpo #Cloud

The path to automation is not a straight one at most organizations

If you think of automated provisioning as a formal written language definition, it does have some value in illuminating issues with partial automation or portions of the overall data center that are not automated.

The path to automation is not a straight one at most organizations. It takes time, it takes resources, and even though there is a definable ROI, the press of business needs wins every time there is a conflict – because meeting business needs is pretty much the purpose of IT.

But taking the staggered approach has costs too, and it’s good on occasion to look at them. I’ve admittedly created this view, but it is a way to consider your automation efforts and how well they’re working with regard to the end goal.

We cover bare metal provisioning, application provisioning, multi-system provisioning, and cluster provisioning here. There is a relationship between these things, we’ll go over it as it develops. Afterward, we’ll peek at network and storage provisioning – because the datacenter is the automation goal, if attainable.

The basic building block of any language is the letter. In our case, letters represent the bits of hardware in a server…

Letters

Bare metal provisioning should be able to handle all of them, and if it is bare (virtual) metal provisioning, it should be able to handle virtualized versions of them also.

These are the basic building blocks. You cannot automate an entire datacenter without having automation in place for these bits. Sitting and booting into the RAID card BIOS to set up arrays, or hand partitioning your disk, or hand loading drivers is time-consuming and not in line with automation goals.

These, when taken together, form words, which for our comparison are servers.

Words

Now words represent the smallest thing that can convey meaning. This might ultimately be destined to be a Linux server, or a Windows server, but the point is, it is a container that can hold applications. It could be physical, virtual, or cloud.

Again, this is the bailiwick of Bare Metal Provisioning, if physical or virtual bare metal, and the bailiwick of the cloud management software if in the cloud. Either way, full automation to bring this server up with all of the hardware configured and the OS installed and configured will speed all IT deployments.

On top of server, there are of course phrases and sentences, represented by us as the application. This is the point where the business starts getting interested in what IT is doing…

Sentence

These are important because they include application provisioning, and allow for the application to be deployed, expanded, upgraded, and recycled automatically. A few lines of script and your favorite application provisioning tool, and you’re spinning up tons of whatever is needed – provided the bare metal provisioning tool has done it’s job, and you have targets that are already pre-configured with the OS.

These sentences are normally tied to other sentences – you need an AAA system for any public facing app, for example, but they are stand-alone in that they have a specific function that they completely provide. Unlike the step below them “words”, these systems have applications that are deployed and configured on-demand.

Adding a little bit of complexity offers us the next element in our language – paragraphs. These are high-availability clustered servers. Think of OpenStack and Hadoop as two good examples. A single server with the application on it won’t generally work (outside of dev anyway), you need multiple systems running. Here’s our paragraph:

Paragraph

These systems are highly useful when needed, but highly complex. An automation tool at this level offers an immense time saver if it is adequately implemented. While these systems are very useful, they rely upon the underlying infrastructure to be installed and configured correctly, along with the portions of the app that a given server needs to fulfill its role within the cluster.

These tools tend to be more than application provisioning tools, and they tend to be specialized just like the clustered software they support. The requirements of OpenStack are vastly different than the requirements of Hadoop, even though both require multiple servers running a subset of the overall system and in constant communication.

And yet, they require fully functional OS installs on servers, application configuration, support for whatever hardware is provided… They have much in common with generalized application provisioning.

You Need the Entire Language

Language

When letters are left out of a language, it quickly becomes gibberish. While native-speakers of the language can generally make out the meaning, it takes them longer to do so.

The same is true with datacenter provisioning. The more parts that are not automated, the more time is wasted providing the missing parts. We need solutions or solution sets that can handle the entire language.

We Have the Tools, So the Answer Is Easy
Well, relatively easy at least.

  • Build a full language (stack) solution
  • Automate configuration from the parts of a server through app configuration.
  • Tie the systems together, so that there is a single automation flow.
  • Have the parts able to operate independently, so that changing out a NIC doesn’t require a ton of overhead.

And Remember the Parts of a Full Datacenter Solution:

  • Bare Metal Provisioning
    • Hardware (and VM) elements and OS
    • Everything required (including config!) to spin up a server
  • Application Provisioning
    • Application install on top of the OS
    • Everything required (including config!) to spin up the app on a running server.
  • Cluster Provisioning
    • Cluster install and distribution
    • Everything required to make complex multi-system software like internal cloud or big data systems run on servers with installed OS’s.

The Other Provisioning(s)
There are two more areas where provisioning is moving forward. They contribute to the language by adding nuance, so I saved them to keep my precious theme alive, but many organizations are looking at them:

  • Cloud instance provisioning. Where Bare Metal Provisioning often falls short is with cloud instances. Much of this is because cloud systems have their own dedicated way of spinning up instances with the OS pre-installed (AMIs, etc). Application Provisioning tends to be the same as post-bare-metal, so the only extra bit is using cloud vendor APIs to initially configure a server instead of bare metal provisioning.
  • Network Provisioning. Increasingly, those who are automating the datacenter want to automate the networking along with servers. This market is moving fast, but as of this writing there just aren’t truly solid products out there that meet this desire. SDN, NSX, and ACI all offer promise that this capability is just around the corner though, so it is a good area to watch.
  • Storage Provisioning. This is arguably the most stable of all provisioning, and has been in use since I was Storage and Servers Technical Editor for Network Computing around the turn of the century. Probably you’ve got this down, and need only tweak for new technologies.

It’s safe to say that when one or more of these technologies is ready for prime time, we will have reached the Software Defined Data Center in more than marketing literature.

FasterBetterSmarter
Check out the options available in these markets, choose the ones that best suit your needs, and automate the mundane so that you can focus on business differentiation.

As always, remember to worry more about your organizations’ needs than what someone is screaming that you must do today… Because you have to actually live with what you’re implementing, perhaps for years.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is founder of Ingrained Technology, A technical advocacy and software development consultancy. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing,DevOps, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@CloudExpo Stories
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
Companies are harnessing data in ways we once associated with science fiction. Analysts have access to a plethora of visualization and reporting tools, but considering the vast amount of data businesses collect and limitations of CPUs, end users are forced to design their structures and systems with limitations. Until now. As the cloud toolkit to analyze data has evolved, GPUs have stepped in to massively parallel SQL, visualization and machine learning.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, James Henry, Co-CEO/CTO of Calgary Scientific Inc., introduced you to the challenges, solutions and benefits of training AI systems to solve visual problems with an emphasis on improving AIs with continuous training in the field. He explored applications in several industries and discussed technologies that allow the deployment of advanced visualization solutions to the cloud.
The question before companies today is not whether to become intelligent, it’s a question of how and how fast. The key is to adopt and deploy an intelligent application strategy while simultaneously preparing to scale that intelligence. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sangeeta Chakraborty, Chief Customer Officer at Ayasdi, provided a tactical framework to become a truly intelligent enterprise, including how to identify the right applications for AI, how to build a Center of Excellence to oper...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...