We walk to Lee Poh Wah, Regional Consulting Manager at VMware Asia South to find out how a deployment of their new vSphere can help businesses make the transition into the cloud.
How does vSphere enable a private cloud if its virtualization? How do you help businesses transition from a private to public cloud?
vSphere 4.0 is an operating system for building internal cloud infrastructure. In parallel to the internal cloud OS initiative, more than 500 VMware service provider partners around the world are building external clouds based on the same cloud infrastructure. In the coming months, this means that businesses running virtual machines (VMs) on the internal vSphere cloud will be able to seamlessly move workloads and applications between the internal data centre cloud and external service provider clouds. By giving workloads the ability to be mobile, vSphere allows businesses to have the flexibility of outsourcing to a cloud infrastructure service rather than have to build more internal hardware resource and increase their capital expenditure.
Analysts and vendors may say that cloud computing has moved beyond the hype but are businesses ready for adoption? What has been holding up adoption till now? What are the compelling business and technical arguments (if any) for adoption? What would a complete solution look like?
Cloud computing is a utility-based IT infrastructure and vSphere 4.0 is the industry’s first OS for building internal cloud computing infrastructure. So until vSphere, the ability to build an internal cloud infrastructure that provides the performance and features of a mainframe has not been possible. For example, compared to the previous VMware Infrastructure (VI 3.5) solution, vSphere 4.0 now supports thin storage provisioning that uses up to 50% less storage and fault tolerance that allows two VMs to work in a lock-step configuration for zero downtime. Where these capabilities would cost millions to deploy with hardware solutions, vSphere is enabling them with software. In addition, the vSphere cloud OS will run 30 per cent more applications and cut power by 20% compared to VI 3.5.
Another compelling argument is that vSphere does not require any changes to existing applications. It is transparent to the applications that they are running on a VM and in a federation model; customers can choose which VMware partner cloud service provider they want to outsource their workloads to. They do not need to re-write their applications or migrate their business processes to fit an external application service provider’s platform. So unlike in the latter scenario, there is no lock-in as customers can move their VMs among service providers.
VMware is offering a free upgrade for VI 3.5 customers to vSphere 4.0 which will provide an immediate cost savings benefit. For example, a typical large enterprise with 100 hosts will save up to US$2 million based on the increase in efficiency.
In terms of security, how do you work with customers to prevent potential unauthorized access, inappropriate use and loss of control of proprietary corporate information and applications? Who is and should be responsible for corporate policy distribution, management and control?
One of the main new features in vSphere 4.0 is the introduction of vShield zones. Previously, security zones needed to be configured around a physical server host and if VMs were moved from one host to another, security would need to be manually re-configured on the host. vSphere’s vShield zones allows security zones to be assigned around VMs and virtual applications and these virtual security zones are automatically enforced regardless of how the application moves across the physical host systems.
Essentially, any security policy or control that can be applied in a physical server setup can now follow VMs wherever they are in the vSphere internal cloud.
When it comes to application/software management, it is exceedingly difficult to manage and administer a virtualized corporate IT environment. It may be impossible or impractical to attempt to manage the cloud. What tools exist for the buyer to monitor and manage multiple cloud-computing vendors and their products?
VMware provides full management APIs to allow management tools including those from CA and HP so that users can use tools they are familiar with to manage both physical and virtual machines through a single pane of glass.
Any Asian based customers using it now?
One beta vSphere customer in Asia is TRW Automotive, a global automotive parts manufacturer and supplier. The company provides more than 40 vehicle makers with braking, steering and suspension systems, seatbelt systems, body control systems, safety electronics and engine components. It operates 209 manufacturing plants in 27 countries worldwide.
“We are already running VMware Infrastructure throughout our data centers in Malaysia and the US to reduce infrastructure and operational costs. After a quick test run with vSphere beta, we are excited about the additional and significant improvements to consolidation ratios, performance and manageability that vSphere offers,” said Chin Kar Wai, Service Delivery Manager, TRW Global IS.
“In addition, we currently use VMware’s technology to create an internal cloud with dynamic resource provisioning and usage chargeback models. vSphere will automate a lot more functions, like storage provisioning and security, to enable our internal cloud to deliver higher performance levels than what hardware solutions provide at much higher cost.”