Keys To Successful Cloud Application Deployment

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Bill Gerneglia

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Article by Tom Sheehan

Proper cloud infrastructure assembly can enable the smooth deployment of core business applications.

When building out the cloud computing infrastructure it is imperative to select and deploy a proven set of cloud core services.

These include storage management controls, hypervisors, security policies and security software including firewalls,  disaster recovery and governance, and database administration and replication services to enable application redundancy.

How can private cloud providers ensure optimal delivery of services in an application cloud?  The short answer is when the cloud vendor strives for Automated application delivery. Automated application delivery can offer complete visibility into the infrastructure and equipment the primary cloud providers have deployed.

This provides a way to learn from the past and be strategic about the future. Application delivery should be consistent, reliable and most importantly fast in delivering those on-demand services that their customers desperately need.

The following are important cloud infrastructure and application deployment characteristics necessary for a successful cloud vendor partnership:

1. Primary cloud vendor focus on applications rather than cloud infrastructure.

Smooth running applications are the driving force behind cloud systems as good business outcomes are built on these core applications. Application delivery, not infrastructure should be the focus of all communications between all cloud vendors and their customers.

To ensure this occurs make sure systems resources such as computing, storage, network and application resources all get the same considerations.

2. The customer focus and communications should remain on applications not server performance.

Some preconfigured cloud stack assembly work well for deployment - the Fedora Core series of LAMP stack distributions is one good example. It has passed a certification process by a larger open source community. The deployment can be made both rapidly and reliably. In most cloud computing environments, there is a trade-off between reliability and the speed of deployment.

Without true automation, there is no chance at efficiency in your cloud environment. Be direct and speak about application performance, app availability, and app scalability within a defined capacity plan.

Avoid the "latent demand" scenario where your end users will use your applications more only if the appropriate computing resources are available.  Give end users what they need up front and plan for exponential growth.

3. Avoid Vendor Lock-In

Homogeneous vendor solutions often work well but come at a steeper price. Heterogeneous solutions do not always play well together in the computing sandbox. So how do you avoid vendor lock-in?

The answer comes from reliance on the open source community and consortia when possible. Agility via an open cloud architecture is the key to private cloud success. Embrace and learn from other deployments. In addition, beware of platform as a service (PaaS). This can often result in architecture lock-in.

4. Deploy reliable version control software

You need complete visibility into the configuration of your infrastructure. Without it there is the possibility that you will repeat deployment and version mistakes. Ensuring compliance when you don't know which version of which application was installed is difficult at best. What’s the solution?

You should maintain a complete history of all of your systems and applications. Centralized version control and configuration management enables you learn from the past, manage today and plan for the future with much less stress.

Cross-posted from CIOZone

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