IBM cloud chief: Private clouds a fit for test and development

A private cloud network that uses virtualization to provision new resources can dramatically improve efficiency.
Enterprises are embracing private cloud networks to improve the efficiency of test and development organizations, IBM cloud computing software chief Kristof Kloeckner says.

Test and development systems are generally not highly utilized, he notes. IT provisions servers and storage for specific purposes, but then doesn't reclaim them when that purpose has been fulfilled, leading to a shortage of resources. Secondly, procuring servers and setting them up takes longer than users would like.

Therefore, a private cloud network that uses virtualization, service automation technologies, and a self-service interface to provision new resources can dramatically improve efficiency, Kloeckner said in a recent interview.

"We've talked to virtually dozens of companies that have sizable test and development organizations, who say, 'I realize I have resources that are underutilized, and that aren't managed properly. Can a private cloud help me improve utilization, improve my processes, and drive down capital expense?'" Kloeckner says.

While many experts expect private clouds to be used more in production roles as enterprise grow comfortable with the technology, Kloeckner says test and development is a good starting point.

Kloeckner, officially the CTO for enterprise initiatives and vice president of cloud computing platforms at IBM, notes that Big Blue is trying to provide many of the provisioning and service automation features needed in private clouds through its Tivoli software group, as well as products like the recently announced WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance.

"We introduce virtualization, we introduce service automation, and we introduce self-service access to the resources," he says.

Instead of test and development teams submitting a request for new physical hardware, a private cloud strategy lets them call up a service portal and find a catalog of preconfigured, virtualized test systems. Under the covers, the system automatically provisions the storage, operating system, and middleware needed to make the test environment run.

When building private clouds, clients typically want to reuse existing hardware in a more efficient manner, rather than buy new systems, Kloeckner says. For x86 shops, the key virtualization technology must be acquired from VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, or another vendor. But IBM does provide virtualization for mainframes and Unix servers.

While the phrase "private cloud" is new, the problems solved by the approach have been recognized for several years. But virtualization, service automation and self-service technologies are only now becoming sophisticated enough to adopt the approach en masse, according to Kloeckner. Moreover, financial pressures are greater today, forcing IT shops to reevaluate inefficient processes.

BY Jon Brodkin
Source:Network World

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