Virtualization, Virtual Data Center, and Private Cloud

Nothing to do with Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I don’t know why  just wrote that, I guess I am hungry this morning. But back to blogging with integrity, I wanted to put together a quick post about the different stages in our Data Centers, and depending on your vision, how to implement these different, but related approaches. I classify then as different because even though one can lead to the other, you could stay at one of them.

1. In computing, virtualization refers to the act of creating a virtual (rather than actual) version of something, including (but not limited to) a virtual computer hardware platform, operating system (OS), storage device, or computer network resources.


Keep in mind that you could still have multiple virtualization platforms, or even multiple virtualized Silos. If you had before an engineering department and a finance department with their physical systems separate, and now these are virtualized, but still separate, then congratulations you have your foot into the virtual world.

Virtualized Silos

virtualizationIn order to moved to the Virtualized Data Center you will need to share resources between those silos, and some learn new techniques and tricks to help people communicate with each other.

2. Virtualized Data Center (VDC): A highly efficient and optimized data center allowing the business to do more within the confines of the available resources (servers, power, cooling, sq. ft.). It also has the agility to adapt to changes in the business and workload requirements.

software-defined-data-center2The number one drive for the virtual data center is the efficiency, or reducing overhead and waste. This new paradigm takes advantage of true sharing with resource pooling and standardization at its core.

Key characteristics:

  • Virtualized hardware stack
  • Resource pooling / shared resources
  • Automation
  • Standardization
  • Reporting for management and chargeback/showback.

3. Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.

The number one drive for cloud is the agility. The speed and the agility that cloud brings to the business is the main reason most datacenter are on its way from the VDC to the cloud model.


Essential Characteristics:

  • On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service provider.
  • Broad network access. Capabilities are available over the network and accessed through standard mechanisms that promote use by heterogeneous thin or thick client platforms (e.g., mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and workstations).
  • Resource pooling. The provider’s computing resources are pooled to serve multiple consumers using a multi-tenant model, with different physical and virtual resources dynamically assigned and reassigned according to consumer demand. There is a sense of location independence in that the customer generally has no control or knowledge over the exact location of the provided resources but may be able to specify location at a higher level of abstraction (e.g., country, state, or datacenter). Examples of resources include storage, processing, memory, and network bandwidth.
  • Rapid elasticity. Capabilities can be elastically provisioned and released, in some cases automatically, to scale rapidly outward and inward commensurate with demand. To the consumer, the capabilities available for provisioning often appear to be unlimited and can be appropriated in any quantity at any time.
  • Measured service. Cloud systems automatically control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some level of abstraction appropriate to the type of service (e.g., storage, processing, bandwidth, and active user accounts). Resource usage can be monitored, controlled, and reported, providing transparency for both the provider and consumer of the utilized service.

Service Models:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to use the provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure . The applications are accessible from various client devices through either a thin client interface, such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email), or a program interface. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, storage, or even individual application capabilities, with the possible exception of limited userspecific application configuration settings.
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to deploy onto the cloud infrastructure consumer-created or acquired applications created using programminglanguages, libraries, services, and tools supported by the provider.3 The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure including network, servers, operating systems, or storage, but has control over the deployed applications and possibly configuration settings for the application-hosting environment.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The capability provided to the consumer is to provision processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems, storage, and deployed applications; and possibly limited control of select networking components (e.g., host firewalls).

Deployment Models:

  • Private cloud. The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a single organization comprising multiple consumers (e.g., business units). It may be owned, managed, and operated by the organization, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.
  • Community cloud. The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for exclusive use by a specific community of consumers from organizations that have shared concerns (e.g., mission, security requirements, policy, and compliance considerations). It may be owned, managed, and operated by one or more of the organizations in the community, a third party, or some combination of them, and it may exist on or off premises.
  • Public cloud. The cloud infrastructure is provisioned for open use by the general public. It may be owned, managed, and operated by a business, academic, or government organization, or some combination of them. It exists on the premises of the cloud provider.
  • Hybrid cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).

Source: NIST

Benefits of the Cloud

  • Self service provisioning in minutes, compare to days in the VDC or weeks in the virtualized, but siloed datacenter
  • Application development and testing are flexible and self-service enable
  • Relocation from test and development is predictable and seamless
  • Resources scale fluidly to meet growing or reduced need
  • Service level easily adjusted after the fact
  • Resource granularity permits an optimized metering providing better utilization and reducing cost.

As a summary we could say the first step to this agile and efficient model is to virtualize your datacenter. The following image illustrated the path and vision for the datacenter of the future.

DynamicDataCenterAs always my posts are my own, but with bits and pieces from around the cloud. Thanks to VMware mostly as the source for this post.


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