Lat week we posted part one of our series: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects. This week we will cover habits 3 through 5.

Habit #3: Empower your users with self-service & create internal evangelists

As an IT architect, teams count on you to drive rapid innovation within your organization.  Cloud computing promises to be an enabler of inovation; however, your developers, test engineers, business analysts, or support staff need to realize the value quickly. Ease-of-use and self-service are an important aspect of cloud computing for these users.    Unfortunately, most cloud services only offer command-line tools or a basic web interface designed for technical users.  These tools increase the IT support burden and do not fully meet user expectations for cloud computing.  IT architects with the best track record select self-service cloud solutions to functional users and recruit them as evangelists early in the process.

Skytap Cloud

A good way to do this is to show them how easy it is to create, deploy, and manage cloud resources on their own.  Another way is to configure complex environments and provide them as templates so that your users can get going immediately.

Skytap approach:  Skytap provides a web interface that empowers users to perform complex IT operations based on policies set by the IT administrators. IT managers can create pre-defined templates that enables users to be self-sufficient. This eliminates the frequent interruptions and productivity disruptions that commonly plague IT shops.

Habit #4: Deploy configurable virtual data centers; don’t forget the networks

As a cloud architect you may need to move a range of applications that typically run in corporate data centers to the cloud. To ensure a smooth migration and successful adoption, successful IT architects create virtual data centers that mimic in-house data center capabilities and enable networks required for complex applications. For instance, one application may require clustered database servers with multiple network interfaces (NICs) that connect to different networks.  Another application may be processor intensive and need 4 to 6 CPU cores or 32 GB memory per server for effective performance.

Skytap Cloud's fully configurable servers and networking features

Most cloud vendors don’t provide the sophisticated networking features necessary to deploy enterprise applications that include clustering and failover mechanisms. Also, they only support fixed instance types (e.g. small, large, extra-large instances), so it becomes difficult to replicate an existing IT environment in the cloud.  Cloud solutions that provide configurable virtual data centers and advanced networking settings will enable you to create “production like” scenarios in the cloud.

Skytap solution:  Skytap offers full configurability of servers and networking through its user interface and APIs. This configurability empowers IT architects to scale disks, set CPU cores, establish memory per virtual machine and configure NICs and MAC addresses. They can also specify network subnet addresses, host IP addresses, host names, DHCP, DNS gateways and more. Skytap provides a powerful administrator interface to query that status of deployed virtual machines and virtual data centers, create detailed usage reporting and conduct compliance audit tracking.

Habit #5: Let your users run multiple environments in parallel

Enterprise applications are complex in nature and comprise of multiple interconnected servers and services. To resolve a complex bug scenario, your team may need to capture the full state of those servers and services. Your development team will need to run an instance to debug the issue while the QA team is running a parallel instance for load testing.

Skytap virtual data centers (VDCs).

One way to do this would be to use a cloud solution that can run multiple environments in fully isolated and network fenced VLANs. Without this capability, both users and IT will waste valuable time queuing up the work on same set of resources or setting up and tearing down new data center resources.

Skytap solution:  Skytap provides virtual data centers (VDCs) that run inside a VLAN.  Each VDC can have multiple machines and networks that run inside the VLAN. Multiple such VDCs can run in parallel without any conflict.  Skytap also enables IT architects to create a “hub and spoke” model for creating shared server resources. This is especially useful when diagnosing performance issues, architecture changes or software bugs. Users can also save a ‘golden image’ for rapid deployment at a later date.

The next post we will cover Habits 6 and 7 or you can download the entire white paper and learn all 7 Habits of Highly Effective Cloud Architects.

– Nate Odell, Director of Marketing – Skytap

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