Tag Archives: Infrastructure

Software Defined Networking (SDN): Core to the Future of the Data Center?

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is emerging as a new architecture for infrastructure flexibility in enterprises and in providers of Cloud infrastructure offerings. SDN is based upon separating the control layer from the data transport layer in a communications network. A key advantage is the use of a virtualized architecture that enables the use of commodity servers rather than custom-designed network controllers.

Some enterprises have taken steps to adopt software defined networking in their data centers, where it provides cost advantages and more flexibility in network configuration, and thus can accelerate implementation of new applications through DevOps techniques. For example, using DevOps, an application can be readily tested by temporarily accessing cloud resources to run the application at scale.

While enterprises have learned that a key attraction of virtualization is that it provides a means to make changes to an infrastructure easily and quickly – SDN presents a dilemma for vendors of traditional networking controllers. SDN enables the use of commodity-priced servers rather than conventional proprietary controllers in network infrastructures. This is quite attractive to enterprises due to the potential for significant cost savings (see Figure 1), and due to the greater flexibility in equipment and vendor selection. Continue reading

Hyperscale: An Adverb or an Adjective?

What is Happening?           

Over the last several months, Saugatuck has been looking into phenomena increasingly (and commonly) referred to as “Hyperscale”. Hyperscale appears to be entering common parlance just as Cloud became increasingly well-understood and then mainstream over the past five plus years. Common definitions of Hyperscale focus on two major factors: the speed of scaling resources allocated to a task; and the extent of the resources available in the infrastructure.

However, just as Cloud offerings today don’t look like the Cloud offerings of 3 years ago, the requirements and usage of infrastructures that can be termed Hyperscale are evolving rapidly. Not too long ago, a primary value proposition for Cloud infrastructure adoption was economic, due to improved hardware utilization through automation of resource provisioning / allocation to individual workloads. This same automated provisioning is now viewed as a significant boon to IT and Business agility, not just a means to save money.

Similarly, Hyperscale has been viewed as a requirement for some types of workloads and as a foundation for some Cloud providers. However, Saugatuck projects that Hyperscale will increasingly become recognized as a key enabler of new types of application design, and broadly deployed among a much larger pool of Cloud infrastructures. Continue reading

Contracting to the Cloud

The on-demand Cloud model is beginning to displace traditional outsourcing. But outsourcing has developed over many years alongside industry, and it has had an important impact in shaping service customer expectations and supplier contractual obligations. Cloud services do not readily fit the mold. While simple or limited Cloud is seldom an issue, the widescale replacement of traditional in-house infrastructure is beginning to bring new concerns into focus. This is particularly important for the evolution of IaaS and PaaS.

Although Cloud is simpler in its agreements than its predecessors and envisions a utility-based model, it must still fit in with the auditing, technical integration, and governance needs of the firm. Traditional outsourcing models have tended to focus upon the Service Level Agreement (SLA) for contractually defining what is to be provided and how. However, the SLA has proven to be a thorny issue in the Cloud environment, particularly in public Cloud services. The issue has focused upon the definition of downtime, such as might be experienced when a Cloud provider goes offline for several hours—as has happened several times recently. What constitutes downtime, and what penalties (if any) should be paid to the client when this affects business? But this masks a range of related contractual concerns.

Cloud services need to be fitted into an organization to be used effectively. This means that they need to be integrated with other suppliers in the evolving multi-vendor environment. Management of vendors has centered upon the Vendor Management Office (VMO), which is increasingly being called upon to deal with services originating in the Cloud. But these services have different characteristics from their predecessors, different lifecycles, and different procedures for onboarding and releasing. Continue reading

IT Infrastructure Starts At the Foundation

Confronted with the requirement to cost effectively increase infrastructure capacity and/or flexibility, IT organizations strive to choose between traditional infrastructure providers, CoLo and hosting providers, and Cloud providers. In a recently published Strategic Perspective, Saugatuck offers guidance to any IT organization striving to plan an IT infrastructure.

Saugatuck urges that prior to initiating evaluations of technological infrastructure alternatives, an IT organization should first perform a thorough inventory and assessment of the existing physical infrastructure. This effort can be logically divided into two categories: Continue reading

APIs in the Wild

The rapidly developing API Economy is made up of many parts that are infrequently examined. APIs provide access to software services on a network, and they have existed since the early days of computing. Now they are garnering new attention as Mobility and Cloud make them more important and more accessible. Releasing APIs has become an important marketing strategy for many companies, and their usage is encouraging integration of innumerable services through mashups on the Web. Yet we seldom look at specifics of what is being released. As APIs become more important, they signal directions that development is likely to take, and herald new opportunities from bringing together previously unavailable services. They also demonstrate the increasing importance of Mobility in driving software development. Continue reading

Mobility and IT Evolution

Mobility is having a large and diverse impact upon the growth of Digital Business. In a previous Perspective we looked at the Mobile/Cloud impact on Innovation (Enabling Innovation with Cloud Mobility, 1455STR, 10Oct2014). But the impact goes farther than that. Mobility is changing the way we think about IT and immediately enabling a wide variety of new possibilities – including entirely new concepts based on mobile sensors and their deployment. In the fast-moving environment of app development, evolution occurs swiftly in a continuous battle for survival of the fittest. Device desktop space is limited, and there are hundreds of apps performing similar functions; apps are quickly developed and deployed, and they can include powerful integration with Cloud-based services. And they are easily repurposed and moved to a new arena. Continue reading

Estimating Cloud Resource Requirement

Attraction of Cloud IT offerings remains mostly based on the perceived potential of reduced infrastructure costs. However, the trade press and IT analysts provide minimal guidance on sizing Cloud resource for a workload. Saugatuck’s ongoing conversations with users have shown that Cloud IT cost estimates are typically based on gross and erroneous approximations rather than on measurements of performance.

Saugatuck recently published a Strategic Perspective which focuses on factors which heavily influence performance of a Cloud IT infrastructure and, thus, the ongoing costs of running a workload on the Cloud infrastructure: Continue reading

Beyond the Glitter: Serious Business

During the week of 29 April through 3 May IBM hosted its annual Impact 2013 (subtitled “Business. In Motion”) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Befitting the location, Impact is a huge business conference (with 8,500 attendees this year) and has a definite Las Vegas flavor (the keynote opened with a car driven on stage and dubbed a “rolling data center”).

IBM’s market positioning and messaging continues to be a bellwether for large-enterprise IT trends overall. This year’s Impact emphasis on the combination of Cloud, Mobility, Social, and Analytics – plus the importance of native integrative capabilities – underscores the emergence and reality of the loosely-coupled, “elemental” IT and business architectures that are increasingly prevalent, that enable a variety of Boundary-free Enterprise™ configurations, and which are reshaping providers’ go-to-market positioning.

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1216MKT) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.

Managing TCO Changes for Cloud IT Infrastructure

Heads up to our research subscription clients: Saugatuck has just published a Strategic Perspective that complements and extends the research and guidance presented in our recent (1187SSR, Understanding Cloud Infrastructure Costs: Navigating for Savings, 07Mar2013).

The fundamental motivation for this latest Strategic Perspective stems from an elementary business precept which holds that the best surprise is no surprise. Our objective is to provide sufficient insights and guidance regarding TCO models for Cloud versus traditional IT, so as to avoid surprises such as unplanned costs or inappropriate tradeoff between optional functionality and additional cost. Continue reading

Re-engineering Application Development

Saugatuck has gone on record that the phenomenon of Cloud IT is forcing vast changes in the responsibilities and roles of the traditional enterprise IT organization. In published research for our CRS clients this week, we took a look at how these changes affect enterprise IT from an applications development point of view. Figure 1 summarizes the key characteristics of Cloud IT that impact enterprise AppDev, as follows:

Figure 1: Summary Changes – Cloud IT and Enterprise Application Development
1169STR Figure 1
Source: Saugatuck Technology Inc.

How to address and overcome these changes and challenges is a story that requires further reading and examination, beyond our abilities in this simple blog post. To net it down: The role(s) of in-house application development resources will change, no disappear, due to widespread use of Cloud IT (whether IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS). AppDev costs should decline on a per-instance basis while the range and scope of AppDev resources escalates – just in time to help in-house developers find and learn new skills and technologies needed to manage proliferating solutions, interfaces, providers, and data formats.

Note: Ongoing Saugatuck subscription clients can access this premium research piece (1169STR) by clicking here, and inputting your ID and password. Non-clients can purchase and download this premium research piece by clicking here.

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