Monday, 27 February 2017

I'll complete my series by taking a look at some of the implications around sizing our cloud resources, more specifically systems being Undersized and Oversized and what we should be doing to get it right. 

As mentioned in the Cloud Computing introduction, in a cloud computing environment you should be able to self provision computing capabilities. One of the primary steps taken before deployment, would be to perform Application Sizing.  This process enables you to accurately provision the correct amount of resource required to support the application(s) avoiding any potential performance issues and any unnecessary costs. Without this you could run the risk of being undersized which can lead to poor performance and Service Level Agreements (SLA) being affected.

Cloud providers will implement limits to restrict usage.  This of course can be increased for a cost.  Even if the initial resource usage costs are low, there could be higher costs down to the financial impact of possible SLA penalties and / or loss of business or productivity due to poor application performance and this in turn can damage the reputation of the business. Cloud bursting may be required if you are undersized and need some additional capacity very rapidly and this approach can incur higher usage premiums.  
Over sizing or overprovisioning. The key here is whether you have provisioned too much capacity?  You may have over provisioned to wholly satisfy an SLA due to strict penalties, but it could be costing you far more than is actually required.

Gartner state "
that most organizations overprovision the resources in their IT environment by more than 100% with an average utilization of physical environments of only 10% and virtual environments of 35%".  (extracted from “Does Cloud Computing Have a ‘Green’ Lining? – Gartner Research 2010)

This is primarily to cope with peak workload demands, which typically do not occur very frequently.  Save costs on resource usage by provisioning the optimum level to satisfy all criteria, i.e. SLA’s.  Costs such as Software Licensing where you are licensed per CPU would incur more costs because you have provisioned more CPU’s than necessary.

How does over capacity affect other services in the cloud?  Are other services restricted because capacity has been over provisioned?  Could this lead to poor performance?

Single-threaded applications on a vSMP VM do not gain any performance benefit, moreover resources are not only wasted, they affect the performance of the underlying ESX host because they have to manage and provide resources to the associated worlds (processes).  

A virtual machine is a group of worlds and each vCPU assigned has a world plus one for the Mouse, Keyboard and Screen (MKS) and one for the Virtual Machine Monitor (VMM)

Over provisioning leads to VM Sprawl.

Memory resources can be shared across virtual machines, however over provisioning puts further pressure on ESX to manage allocation of resources to virtual machines. 

Our objective therefore, is to get our On Demand Sizing just right. If you need help with right sizing for Cloud then take a look at our Cloud Capacity Management Service

and don't forget to come along to our 'Cloud Capacity Management' webinar on March 15

Jamie Baker
Principal Consultant

Friday, 24 February 2017

Virtualization underpins Cloud Computing, through resource pooling and rapid elasticity (2 of 3)

As mentioned previously to be considered a cloud a service must be On Demand, provide Resource Pooling and also Rapid Elasticity.  And whilst Virtualization in general can provide the majority of these features the difference is that a private cloud using internet based technologies can actually provide the mechanism for end users to self provision virtual systems. Think of this as the ability to self-check in at an airport or print your boarding pass from home. 
You login to a browser with a reference code, plug in some personal details and print or walk up to a screen enter a few details and voila out pops the boarding card and off you go (business or hand luggage only) otherwise off to bag drop before you go - virtually eliminating the need to queue up at a check-in desk to get your boarding card. 

But it's more than just virtualizing systems and hosting them internally, it’s about giving control to the end user.  

Now of course, some administrators may wince after reading this but there are ways in which self- provisioned systems can be controlled by using the virtualization technology that underpins cloud technology.  Using resource pools within your private cloud gives you the ability to control resources via limits and shares and / or reservations so you can specify the amount of resources that users are allowed to provision.  These control settings can also be changed very quickly to increase or decrease the amount of resources that are available within that pool.  This helps prevent over specification and VM sprawl.

Another way to control resource deployment and / or usage is to internally charge.  Users and their departments will soon reign back on creating over provisioned systems if they are charged on their system configuration usage rather than just on the usage itself.   
It can be quite difficult to implement some form of internal charging. What do you charge with?  Maybe by utilizing project codes or some other internal monetary system?
On Monday I’ll be looking at Capacity on demand and how you can get your sizing right.

Jamie Baker
Principal Consultant

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

When we refer to a "cloud" what is it that we actually mean?(1 of 3)

We know that the cloud provides computing resources for customers to use and these resources are then charged at a monetary value accordingly.
Cloud providers deliver and manage services by using applications such as VMware's vCloud Director.  These cloud applications provide benefits such as:

·         Increased business agility by empowering users to deploy pre-configured services or custom-built services with the click of a button
·         Maintaining security and control over a multi-tenant environment with policy-based user controls and security technologies

·         Reducing costs by efficiently delivering resources to internal organizations as virtual datacenters to increase consolidation and simplify management
So, to be considered a Cloud it must be:

·         On Demand - cloud aware applications can in most cases automatically self provision resources for itself and release them back as necessary. 
·         Resource Pooling - freeing up unused resources provides the ability to move these resources between different consumers’ workloads, thus quickly and effectively satisfying demand.

·         Rapid Elasticity - rapid means within seconds to minutes (not in days).  In a Virtual Cloud Environment, to Scale Out or In would also cover the ability to provision new ESX hosts, rather than just scale to new virtual machines.
Virtualization technology encompasses these three requirements and underpins Cloud Computing.

Many businesses are now using these advantages to move away from overinvestment in rigid, legacy-based technology and adopting cloud-based services which are highly scalable, technology-enabled computing consumed over a network on an as-needed basis.

Cloud Types

Cloud types provide the “computing as a service” model to help reduce IT costs and make your technology environment a responsive, agile, service-based system.  These Cloud "types" or Service Delivery Models are commonly known as:

·         Software as a Service (SaaS) - External Service Providers (ESP) such as Amazon can provide access to a specific software application, e.g. Business Mail Service Desk and charge as necessary.  You would access this application via a "thin client" typically a web browser.

·         Platform as a Service (PaaS) - This enables you to deploy supported applications into the Cloud with some degree of control over what environment settings are required.  You do not have any control over the resources provided to host these applications.

·         Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) - This provides the ability to provision your own resources and you have full control over what operating systems, environment settings and applications are deployed.  The cloud provider still retains full management and control over the infrastructure.

The Cloud or "Clouds" as we know them are categorized by location and ownership, typically referred to as Public / Private or Internal or External clouds.  In addition there are Community and Hybrid clouds whereby a Community share the cloud and are bound by a common concern or interest and Hybrid where you have a composition of two or more Private or Public clouds.  This allows for data and application portability between clouds to occur.  VMware introduced the vApps functionality specifically for this.

Most organisations will tend to lean more towards having exclusive "Internal" cloud services and possibly "Hybrid" cloud services (a mixture of Public and Private clouds).  You may find that critical or data sensitive applications are always kept within the organisation and in some cases Testing and Development applications are ported to the Public Cloud where it is more cost effective to do so.  There may also be the use of SaaS within the organisation which would be external to the business.

Just to reiterate, Virtualization underpins Cloud Computing, through resource pooling and rapid elasticity and to avoid any confusion, I will be explaining the primary difference of say a Private or Internal Cloud over Virtualization on Friday.
In the meantime register for our next webinar Cloud Capacity Management'

Jamie Baker
Principal Consultant

Friday, 17 February 2017

Capacity Management Maturity, Assessing & Improving (4 of 4)

Our Capacity Management Maturity Survey helps you to see where your organization scores on the Maturity Scale.

Capacity Management Maturity is not easy to achieve.

Most organizations that have dedicated Capacity Management functions or teams typically score either a 2 or a 3 in this model. Organizations that do not have dedicated teams or functions normally score between a 1 or a 2.

Our survey is a perfect discussion point between the Capacity Manager and management. The results of the survey provide quick feedback on areas to improve.

Using the survey to compare the results for your organization against others in your industry or geography gives an opportunity for you to see where you stack up….possibly identify where you are behind others so that you can catch up.

Take our survey now

It’s the perfect opportunity to put processes in place that give your organization a competitive advantage over others in your industry.

Rich Fronheiser
Chief Marketing Officer

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Capacity Management Maturity, Assessing & Improving - 5 levels of process maturity (3 of 4)

As promised today I'll discuss the 5 levels of Capacity Management Maturity.

They are:

Level 1 – Initial
Processes are undocumented and in a state of dynamic and chaotic manner. They tend to be driven in an ad hoc, uncontrolled, and reactive manner. Processes at this level tend to be unstable.

Level 2 – Repeatable
Some processes are repeatable, possibly with consistent results. Discipline is unlikely to be rigorous, but where it exists it may help to ensure existing processes are maintained during stressful periods.

Level 3 – Defined
Sets of defined and documented standard processes are established and subject to some degree of improvement over time.

Level 4 – Managed
Using process metrics, management can effectively control processes and identify ways to adjust and adapt the process to particular projects without losses of quality.

Level 5 – Optimizing

The focus is on continual improvement through both incremental and innovative changes / improvements

Don't forget to check out our Resources, there are some great white papers and on-demand webinars available to you.

The final part of my series will be on Friday.

Rich Fronheiser
Chief Marketing Officer

Monday, 13 February 2017

Capacity Management Maturity, Assesssing & Improving - Setting the Landscape (2 of 4)

What is Capacity Management?

A fairly standard definition of Capacity Management is 'An IT process that helps ensure capacity meets current and a future business requirements in a cost-­effective manner.'

A well defined Capacity Management process will focus on four sub processes:

Business Capacity Management translating business needs and plans into capacity and performance requirements for services and infrastructure.

Service Capacity Management – managing the capacity of live, operational IT services. This includes both proactive and reactive activities to ensure SLAs are met.

Component Capacity Management managing the performance, utilization, and capacity of IT resources and individual IT components.

Capacity Management ReportingTo provide other ITSM processes and management with information related to service and component capacity, utilization, and performance
In order to support the process, specific activities (monitoring, analysis, tuning, modeling, etc.) are undertaken in both proactive and reactive ways.

What is Maturity?

A maturity model is a set of structured levels that describe how well the behaviors, practices, and processes of an organization can reliably produce desired outcomes.

Various models exist. For the purposes of this survey, we’ll focus on the Capability Maturity Model, which consists of five levels of process maturity.

I'll tell you the five levels of process maturity in the Capability Maturity Model on Wednesday.

Come along to our webinar 'It's all about the CMIS, CMIS, No Trouble' and find out how a CMIS provides process governance and helps to mature the capacity process.

Rich Fronheiser
Chief Marketing Officer

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Capacity Management Maturity - Assessing and Improving the Effectiveness (1 of 4)

Many organizations have a Capacity Management process or function in place, but no practical way to assess the effectiveness or even the strengths and weaknesses of the process or function.

This led to the development and refinement of a Capacity Management Maturity Survey, consisting of 20 carefully chosen questions that help an organization assess maturity and effectiveness.

Our Capacity Management Maturity Survey is available to complete on line.

Once completed, the results will allow the Capacity Manager to better communicate the importance of Capacity Management and create a plan to fill identified gaps going forward.

Applying this assessment to multiple organizations allows comparisons to be made - between organizations and between an organization and others sharing characteristics such as type of business, geographical location and organizational size, among others.

We're also running a webinar series starting on April 12 'Capacity Management Maturity'

Rich Fronheiser
Chief Marketing Officer

Monday, 6 February 2017

Capacity Management Maturity, Maslow, and You - Moving up the scales (7 of 7)

When evaluating your Capacity Management Maturity, it’s useful to consider both the CMM/CMMI scale and Maslow and the concepts Maslow brings to his Hierarchy of Needs.

        CMM can’t be proactive until all “reactive components” are in place, etc.

        Maslow can’t look to fulfill higher level needs until the lower level ones are completely satisfied

        Combine the two: Design the process one level at a time and complete a GAP Analysis to determine how you can “complete” each level and then move to the next one

When trying to move from one level to the next it’s important to make sure that you’ve completely satisfied the requirements of that level before moving on.
For example you would like to move to the Defined level, which makes the Capacity Management process more proactive.  But how can you do that if you don’t satisfy everything in the lower level having data available for all of the components that you’re working with, for example.

When starting from scratch, it’s easy to determine the items that you feel you need to create a mature process.  Most organizations, however, have parts of a Capacity Management process already in place, and deciding to ignore those parts and start from scratch likely will cause your progress to slow, if not halt entirely.
Organizations are people

It’s unwise to try to ignore the needs of the people you work with when trying to implement or improve your CM process:

        Consider the effect on others and how others can affect your efforts

        Find people who will support your efforts how can you help fulfil their needs?

It’s useful to evaluate processes and people using various models and/or hierarchies:

        There are similarities between process maturity models and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

        Processes ultimately are implemented (and helped/hindered by people), so it’s important to consider others’ needs and wants

        A mature Capacity Management process consists of solid processes but also an organization that supports and sees the value in the process
If you'd like to find out where you sit on the Capacity Management Maturity Scale then
take our survey and receive your free 20 page report
Rich Fronheiser
Chief marketing Officer