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Management considerations for a distributed infrastructure
In the digital age, we see how new requirements around cloud and data center solutions continue to impact organizations of all sizes and verticals. Most of all – these distributed technologies allow us to become more agile and a lot more competitive in today’s market. This means that organizations can leverage new kinds of resources, create new business economics, and enhance user experiences.
A recent report from IDC points out that the worldwide public cloud services market, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), System Infrastructure Software as a Service (SISaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), grew 24.1% year over year in 2020 with revenues totaling $312 billion.
“Access to shared infrastructure, data, and application resources in public clouds played a critical role in helping organizations, and individuals navigate the disruptions of the past year,” said Rick Villars, group vice president, Worldwide Research at IDC. “In the coming years, enterprises’ ability to govern a growing portfolio of cloud services will be the foundation for introducing greater automation into business and IT processes while also becoming more digitally resilient.”
As we examine distributed infrastructures today, we see that cloud computing and modern data center solutions are built around shared resources. This means that resources can quickly become used up if not properly managed. The idea here is to keep a proactive stance on both the cloud and data center infrastructure to catch potential problems before they occur.
When keeping an eye on the environment, there are several key points to look out for.
- Set alarms and alerts (and avoid alarm fatigue). From the hypervisor, workload, data set, and cloud level – alerts and alarms must be set up. Staying proactive in an environment where resources are shared is crucial to the entire infrastructure’s functionality. Remember, since resources are shared, an impact on one system may have negative repercussions on other workloads running on that physical box. Enterprise-ready platforms will all have alert mechanisms in place to examine policy violations, resource overcommits, bandwidth problems, or even security concerns. Another critical point is alarm fatigue. A good management platform won’t overwhelm you with alarms and alerts and will instead intelligently deliver essential updates to the team.
- Keep an eye on resources and data. Resources are finite within a cloud and data center environment. Furthermore, resources can be expensive. Poor sizing or runaway allocation of resources will have adverse effects on already running apps and VMs. Never only plan for today. Instead, always plan for the future to ensure that there is room for spikes and organizational growth.
- Have a good security management platform. Cloud computing is built around the idea that data is available anytime, anywhere, and on virtually any device – given that there is an Internet connection. This same concept should be adopted towards a security platform that helps manage apps and data. The security management of an entire infrastructure should have the capability of being examined anytime and anywhere. Look for web-based consoles that provide the administrator with live information and the ability to control the environment. Furthermore, some advanced features now offer data-driven solutions to spot anomalies and even track granular data-level dependencies.
- Monitor end-user experience. A poor end-user experience can mean the end of a cloud or application deployment project. End-users must be empowered and feel comfortable in using any platform placed in front of them. Monitoring end-user performance from security, cloud, and data set aspects will help deliver a more robust experience. Tools that can see application load times, length of connection, and how much bandwidth is being utilized can all help create a more efficient environment. Adopting lightweight client technologies from a cloud and security perspective will reduce the resource load at the end-user level.
- Always keep your business in mind. Remember, your IT environment directly enables the capabilities of your business. As you create your own distributed, cloud-ready, infrastructure – make sure to plan around your business, overall goals, and strategic initiatives. You can, most of all, create compelling competitive advantages when you properly size and deploy your distributed architecture. Finally, work with partners and providers who can see the big technology picture and help you align it with your business strategy.
Keeping an eye on the environment can help prevent numerous different issues. Aside from creating an audit log for all activities on the network, administrators must have a proactive view of the environment. Catching policy violations or responding to resource alerts before they become issues can help increase the uptime of any cloud and virtualization environment. As a management platform is introduced, it’s also essential to keep an eye out for deployment best practices for data centers, applications, data sets, and cloud computing.