Scott Allen, vice president of marketing at Visual Network Systems, gives some tips on cloud virtualisation.
Can you outline the main management and optimisation issues that currently face companies using cloud services and virtualisation?
Visibility of application performance is one of the biggest issues for companies using cloud service and virtualisation. The corporate IT department is still very much responsible for delivering overall service quality to their customers.
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They are not "off the hook" because they have outsourced portions of the infrastructure or even the application. If the enterprise is using a public based cloud infrastructure, they will not have the same access or visibility as their own data centre.
Virtualisation of their own data centre can also cause lack of visibility if the enterprise is using legacy performance management tools. Performance problems can happen within the virtualised environment that legacy tools will not see.
What are the key skills that IT managers need to optimise and efficiently manage their cloud-based services and any other virtual servers they may have running? Can they do this themselves, or should they always outsource?
The enterprise IT manager is certainly capable of managing their cloud based services. The leading thought today is that IT departments should gain experience from operating a private cloud environment within the enterprise before a large move towards public cloud services.
The hands on lessons learned can easily be translated to managing a service provider.
As virtual systems expand the need for more bandwidth also increases. How can this demand be managed and optimised to deliver an efficient system to the end user?
One of the most compelling reasons for cloud computing is the cost effective elasticity of computing resources it can provide to an enterprise.
For instance they could quickly scale up their E-Commerce website capacity for a holiday sales season using a cloud provider.
Obviously the same elasticity needs to exist in the network infrastructure. This gives a big advantage to network service providers in the cloud space as opposed to cloud providers who own only data centre resources. They own and control both the outsourced data centre and network resources and can ensure provisioning demands are met more efficiently.
What does the future of managing virtualised networks and cloud-based systems look like?
Enterprises must have performance management tools that give them end-to-end visibility across their owned and outsourced resources.
They also must demand that cloud providers operate with application specific SLAs and instrument their infrastructure with multi-tenant capable performance management tools that not only monitor the SLA, but give the enterprise IT department remote troubleshooting tools for their cloud based resources used.