4. Reliability, Availability and Security
While the model and infrastructure for how IT services are delivered and consumed may have changed with cloud computing, it is still critical for these new solutions to support the same elements that have always been important for end users. Whether the cloud serves as a test bed for developers prototyping new services and applications or it is running the latest version of a popular social gaming application, users expect it to be functioning every minute of every day. To be fully reliable and available, the cloud needs to be able to continue to operate while data remains intact in the virtual data center regardless if a failure occurs in one or more components. Additionally, since most cloud architectures deal with shared resource pools across multiple groups both internal and external, security and multi-tenancy must be integrated into every aspect of an operational architecture and process. Services need to be able to provide access to only authorized users and in this shared resource pool model the users need to be able to trust that their data and applications are secure.
5. Integration with Data Center Management Tools
Many components of traditional data center management sill require some level of integration with new cloud management solutions even though the cloud is a new way of consuming IT. Within most data centers, a variety of tools are used for provisioning, customer care, billing, systems management, directory, security and much more. Cloud computing management solutions do not replace these tools and it is important that there are open application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrate into existing operation, administration, maintenance and provisioning systems (OAM&P) out of the box. These include both current virtualization tools from VMware and Citrix, but also the larger data center management tools from companies like IBM and HP.
6. Visibility and Reporting
The need to manage cloud services from a performance, service level, and reporting perspective becomes paramount to the success of the deployment of the service. Without strong visibility and reporting mechanisms the management of customer service levels, system performance, compliance and billing becomes increasingly difficult. Data center operations have the requirement of having real-time visibility and reporting capabilities within the cloud environment to ensure compliance, security, billing and chargebacks as well as other instruments, which require high levels of granular visibility and reporting.
7. Administrator, Developer and End User Interfaces
One of the primary attributes and successes of existing cloud-based services on the market comes from the fact that self-service portals and deployment models shield the complexity of the cloud service from the end user. This helps by driving adoption and by decreasing operating costs as the majority of the management is offloaded to the end user. Within the self-service portal, the consumer of the service should be able to manage their own virtual data center, create and launch templates, manage their virtual storage, compute and network resources and access image libraries to get their services up and running quickly. Similarly, administrator interfaces must provide a single pane view into all of the physical resources, virtual machine instances, templates, service offerings, and multiple cloud users. On top of core interfaces, all of these features need to be interchangeable to developers and third parties through common APIs.
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