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The Right Tools
Will Accelerate You to the Cloud

Make a Plan and Select the Right Tools at Each Stage

Written by Jason Dea

Let’s say you’re hosting a pool party. You have a beautiful pool in your comfortable backyard. And you just bought a big pool party kit from your favorite big-box store, with all the goodies to make the party a smashing hit. The problem is, all your guests are on their way, and you’re still filling the pool with a ladle rather than a fire hose. A little planning and the right tools would have gone a long way to help you prepare.

This is the way many companies are approaching cloud computing. Everyone is talking about moving to the cloud as if it were a big party. And some companies like Salesforce.com and Amazon with its Elastic Cloud Computing (EC2) have been demonstrating the value of cloud computing for several years with their on-demand applications.

But cloud computing is just the party goodies. True, it helps companies lower costs by reducing infrastructure waste, adds flexibility by allowing resources to move freely, increases agility by reducing the time needed to acquire new resources, and boosts profitability and customer satisfaction by adding more valuable business services. But cloud computing can’t provide any of these without the virtualization infrastructure. If the goodies are the cloud, the pool is virtualization. Without the virtualization pool filled, the cloud is just a box of potential. And while many companies talk of the cloud, they’re building their virtualization strategy with a ladle. Only about 20 percent of workloads have been virtualized so far.

It’s time to get serious and plan your move to the cloud. And the first step is to accelerate your virtualization initiatives.

Without the virtualization pool filled, the cloud is just a box of potential.

Making a Plan

Organizations mature through four stages of virtualization on their way to cloud computing. We recommend that if you plan to make the move to cloud computing, you assess where you are on this path and plan how you will move forward methodically through each of these stages. This article will discuss some of the tools Novell provides at each step to ensure your path is smooth and your progress is effective.

Stage 1: Acclimation

Organizations in this stage are just getting their feet wet. They’re getting comfortable with the concept of virtualization and understanding how they can use it as a tool to save money and add efficiency to their data centers. They begin testing and developing and may deploy virtualization solutions for disaster recovery in areas such as e-mail that are not critical to the business. They may also launch some tactical production applications, but they do not change operations processes and limit deployments of virtualization tools.

At this stage you need a tool that will tell you where you are and help you begin planning your move to virtualization. PlateSpin Recon is an awareness, analysis and planning tool that shows you the resources such as physical servers you currently have running in the data center; average, peak and valley load metrics over time; and consolidation scenarios. PlateSpin Recon provides the map that you need to start on your path to virtualization and then to cloud computing.

PlateSpin Recon begins with telling inventory reports that illustrate where your resources are and shows you where you should begin consolidation. The Storage Architecture report tells you where your data is currently being stored, either locally or on a storage-area network (SAN). (See Figure 1.) The report shows you:

  • Local storage
  • FibreChannel
  • iSCSI
  • Unknown

Use this information to get an idea of how much data is being stored locally. For example, if the report shows that you are using FibreChannel and iSCSI very little, this indicates a good opportunity for you to migrate to shared storage.

An Operating System inventory report is another of the many inventory summary reports PlateSpin Recon provides. It shows how many workloads are running in the data center, as well as how many Windows, AIX, Red Hat and other servers are running.

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