Optimized Private Clouds From the Ground Up

Building a smarter cloud

Tivoli Beat. A weekly IBM service management perspective.

Today's enterprise demands exceptionally smart private clouds... and IBM has responded. Innovative cloud-ready enterprise systems from IBM, driven by IBM Tivoli’s SmartCloud software, offer top-tier security, performance, uptime, and scalability—exactly the formula the enterprise is looking for.

It's a compelling combination because both the hardware and software have been optimized specifically for cloud requirements. While private clouds can be built atop commodity x86 hosts, such an architecture isn't as well suited as it might be for that purpose. Since each host can only run a limited number of virtual servers at a time, more total hosts are needed, multiplying the energy consumed, the heat generated, and the square footage occupied by the cloud.

Now, the x86 platform will unquestionably continue to play an important role in enterprise IT service delivery. But what if, in addition, it were possible to deploy other platforms as well—platforms that have been optimized for cloud computing... then manage them all in a unified manner, by leveraging open standards and a shared set of solutions?

Enterprise systems driven by best-in-class service management solutions

This is the vision behind IBM's new Enterprise System offerings, including:

"Organizations can leverage an array of IBM Tivoli SmartCloud solutions. Built on open standards for maximum interoperability and integrated across the portfolio, these solutions can be deployed and combined in a way that matches organizational needs, to get the best value from its private cloud over time."

And bolstering the case for the Enterprise Systems is the IBM Tivoli cloud-savvy service management portfolio, which can be implemented in any sequence that best fits the needs of the organization.

What do we mean by that? Think of a cloud not as a fixed architecture, but as an evolving one. Now imagine that evolution happening in logical stages and at times chosen by the organization.

Toward that end, organizations can leverage an array of IBM Tivoli SmartCloud solutions. Built on open standards for maximum interoperability and integrated across the portfolio, these solutions can be deployed and combined in a way that matches organizational needs, to deliver the best value over time.

Such an approach is also attractive because of the way it incorporates and extends the value of the organization’s current IT investments. Rather than requiring a rip-and-replace process and a proprietary management paradigm, the open Tivoli portfolio will support all the fit-for-purpose platforms an organization chooses, based on its business needs and workload requirements.

By providing enhanced visibility, control, and automation across the entire, heterogeneous infrastructure, Tivoli solutions help to minimize management complexity and maximize business agility.

Integrate, Automate, and Orchestrate

Among the many Tivoli solutions that can create value in a private cloud context are:

IBM SmartCloud Provisioning. This offering addresses one of the most basic tasks of any cloud – provisioning virtual servers from a library of predefined images. And it does so with incredible speed, creating thousands of servers per hour, if needed, any of which can run on any of several hypervisors. Also impressive is the way this solution can analyze deployed servers and images, in order to discover which of them need modifications such as security patches, middleware revisions, or operating system/application updates.

IBM SmartCloud Monitoring. Discovering and understanding the relationships between the full scope of cloud assets is a difficult job. SmartCloud Monitoring automatically tracks the status levels of the different elements and resources that comprise the cloud, looking for issues that might adversely affect business service levels (or, in a worst case scenario, lead to their outright failure). By giving IT managers at-a-glance understanding of the cloud's health, it empowers them to predict and preclude an outage.

IBM SmartCloud Workload Automation. How does your IT infrastructure orchestrate business workloads—and is that process really optimized for a private cloud? Because complex enterprise workloads typically flow across systems, it's essential to be able to understand and control that flow effectively... and ideally, automatically. SmartCloud Workload Automation accomplishes exactly that via intuitive, Web-based oversight of workload execution that is easily shared among the IT team because it's accessible via any standard browser.

Orchestrate and optimize

IBM SmartCloud Orchestration. Advanced clouds do more than simply execute current services in an optimized way—they also allow the organization to create and execute new services, on demand, as created by non-IT team members. Making that happen, however, means that the cloud will have to be able to combine and execute the different tasks that comprise a new service automatically, without requiring direct IT oversight. SmartCloud Orchestration delivers, living up to its name by orchestrating underlying functions as needed to carry out services requested by line-of-business managers via the included self-service portal.

IBM SmartCloud Control Desk. What if a private cloud was more than a service delivery platform? What if it was also a platform capable of supporting everyday internal IT domains, such as technical troubleshooting and change management? That's the premise behind SmartCloud Control Desk. It includes both a traditional trouble ticket system that users can use to report technical issues, as well as a service catalog via which they can request specific services (if they know exactly what they need). Also included: ITIL-informed change and release management functionality to track the ways the total IT infrastructure is modified over time and carry out new modifications appropriately.

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