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JP Morgenthal is one of the world's foremost experts in IT strategy and cloud computing. He has over twenty-five years of expertise applying technology solutions to complex business problems. JP has strong business acumen complemented by technical depth and breadth. He is a respected author on topics of integration, software development and cloud computing and is a contributor on the forthcoming "Cloud Computing:Assessing the Risks". Jp is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 34 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

The Key To Private Cloud is Removing IT Stratification

04.30.2012
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One of the leading problems plaguing IT organizations is the high costs of operations and maintenance.  The industry average is roughly 70% with some organizations going as high as 90%. Picking apart these costs one often finds a stratified organization focused on narrow bands of computing with little crossover between the bands. Moreover, the weighting of political density between layers often makes it too risky for basic collaboration between the stratified layers. Hence, when problems arise, each layer attempts to solve the problems only with the tools at their disposal. The result is the Operation Petticoat wired together with chewing gum and bras that we call IT.

JP’s IT Axiom #124: Design flaws at the top of the stack will highlight limitations at the bottom of the stack. Likewise, the design at the bottom of the stack impacts performance at the top of the stack.

There’s no escaping the fact that a poorly-designed application will put undue burden on the operating infrastructure. A “chatty” application impacts bandwidth. Improperly designed database queries will consume memory and disk capacity. Poorly-designed storage architecture will limit the amount of I/O per second (IOPS) and, thusly, limit the speed of retrieval of data to the application. IT transformation is about moving from a stratified organization to an agile organization through the use of DevOps culture and other collaborative techniques.

Short of correcting this organizational challenge, the stratified layers will attempt to correct issues using the tools at their disposal. Hence, infrastructure & operations (I & O) will scale linearly with memory, servers and storage to correct design flaws in the application. Software engineering will add specialized code to work around limitations in the infrastructure, such as timeouts and latency. Removal of the stratification in favor of collaborative teams means that issues can be rooted out and solved appropriately.

Moreover, this stratification has greater implications for delivery of private cloud services to the organization. Indeed, while many organizations focus on delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) from their private cloud, it begs the question, “What is cloud strategy for the organization?” IaaS implies that the consumer will manage their own applications in the cloud and that IT is simply the supplier of infrastructure services. I posit that this is merely an extension of the stratification of IT with the I & O layer delivering within their swimlane. However, it misses the greater opportunity for the business a whole, which is to deliver reliability, quality, trust and scalability for data and applications in a consistent manner.

Hence, IT organizations should be focused on delivering Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to the business as this will provide a consistent way to design, build, deploy and manage applications resulting in lowering operational overhead while delivering greater overall agility. By delivering IaaS, the business loses the opportunity for this consistency as engineering teams are now responsible for building and deploying their own application runtime platforms. Even if a single vendor’s application platform is used, the various configurations will make it more difficult to support, lead to longer repair cycles and add undue complexity to operational concerns.

Private cloud computing represents a unique opportunity for the business to reduce operating overhead significantly through the three C’s: consolidation, consistency and congruence. To achieve this goal, IT needs to break down the stratified layers and formulate workload teams comprised of members from various parts of the IT organization and together become responsible for the workload’s availability, performance and consumer experience.

Published at DZone with permission of Jp Morgenthal, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)

Comments

Chris Haddad replied on Mon, 2012/04/30 - 4:47pm

Excellent post JP.   I am particularly intrigued by your statement,

IT organizations should be focused on delivering Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) to the business as this will provide a consistent way to design, build, deploy and manage applications resulting in lowering operational overhead while delivering greater overall agility. By delivering IaaS, the business loses the opportunity for this consistency as engineering teams are now responsible for building and deploying their own application runtime platforms.

 

 

Do you feel standardizing on one or two application server products is required to properly deliver a private PaaS Cloud?     

Mark Unknown replied on Mon, 2012/04/30 - 8:11pm in response to: Chris Haddad

The app server will be part of the PaaS. Thus you are deploying to a PaaS, not app servers.  You should "standardize" so that you can deploy to multiple PaaS.  The other choice is to use a PaaS that is implemented by more than one Vendor - i.e. Cloud Foundry

Chris Haddad replied on Wed, 2012/05/02 - 5:51pm in response to: Mark Unknown

Mark,   Cloud Foundry does not make differences between application servers dissapear.    Oracle WebLogic, IBM WebSphere, and WSO2 Application Server deployed on top of Cloud Foundry will not minimize differences in application server management, monitoring, logging, session clustering, server configurations, application deployment, and proprietary server APIs.  

 

Standardizing on one application server across multiple platform service providers environments is a good technique.  However, few large organizations have the discipline to conform all projects to a single application server product.    Also, benefits can be derived from running a lighter weight departmental server and a more heavy weight clustered server for mission critical applications. 

 

 

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