By Christian Lappin, TierPoint Sr. Sales Engineer
Virtualization and the cloud are the perfect partners; together, they can produce more cost savings, power and performance with even fewer resources deployed. We’ve also seen where together they help customers avoid virtualization over saturation which introduces risk into an environment.
But as powerful as the benefits can be, how they actually work together can be confusing. We’ve created a primer on how understanding the cloud and virtualization mix.
Start with One Part Cloud
The National Institute of Standards and Technology defines cloud computing as:
“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.”
The Cloud itself can be deployed via several service models, which can all operate simultaneously:
- Software as a Service: delivery of user applications on a cloud infrastructure
- Infrastructure as a Service: delivery of computing resources, such as processing and storage, on a cloud infrastructure
- Platform as a Service: delivery of applications, sometime consumer-created, using programming tools (such as languages, libraries and services) supported by the provider
In turn, these service models can be executed following several deployment models:
- Private Cloud: the cloud infrastructure is provisioned exclusively (privately) for a single organization
- Public Cloud: multiple organizations use a shared pool of resources in the provisioning of the cloud infrastructure
- Hybrid Cloud: this cloud integrates two or more service delivery models that can be tailored to client needs — some call them private and public clouds, you can also utilize different combinations such as private cloud and colocation.
The “cloud” is very powerful and flexible, and you may see varying instances of any type of cloud for any solution.
Then Add in a Dash of Virtualization
“Virtualization software makes it possible to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications on the same server at the same time,” explains Mike Adams, director of product marketing at VMware. Virtualization is a separate technology from the cloud, but one that pairs perfectly with it: with fewer cloud resources, companies can achieve more performance and user options without increasing resources. It also reinforces and extends the scalability of the cloud.
Then Mix to Yield Cost Savings
Single-point solutions – those that are inflexible and/or fail to leverage both cloud and virtualization – almost guarantee that customers either don’t get enough or get too much. Any approach that can target a greater totality of a solution means you can more accurately account for all of your needs – testing and development, production, disaster recovery and business continuity – without wasting resources on unnecessary resources or services.
That’s the kind of customization that virtualization mixed with the cloud empowers. Even better, it also enables customers to account for legacy equipment. This is a scenario we frequently encounter: customers want to go to the cloud; but they just bought hardware, and they’re stuck in a 3-to-5 year investment cycle before they can see the ROI. They don’t always realize they can keep what they have, augment it with virtualization, and get the best of both worlds. That means they can still see the cost savings of leveraging what they’ve already spent on physical hardware, complementing it with cost-effective use of virtualized assets via the cloud, with the ability to scale costs by deploying only what you need when you need it.
What Kind of Cost Savings? Try Shrinking $69k to $22k
That’s the basic underlying formula to cut costs. Minimizing servers by maximizing virtualization means a smaller footprint and fewer costs across the board, including hardware, networking, infrastructure (power and cooling), real estate and personnel.
The increased use of virtualization to handle data center workloads is a rapidly expanding trend – because it works, and its benefits are both tangible and measureable. At TierPoint, for example, there aren’t as many rows and rows of actual cabinets anymore; virtualization is reducing the physical space required to achieve the same – or greater – ends. Companies are shrinking their footprint, paying less, and moving more of their workloads into the cloud.
And as workloads shift rapidly into virtualized instances, cloud data centers are becoming much more efficient than traditional data centers, and they’re consequently taking a larger share of the total market.