Businesses can use the N1 Grid technology today, while preparing for the changes in IT technology that will come in the future. The N1 Grid software provides a solid foundation to build on as technical improvements provide greater flexibility, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
Chapter 11. Virtualized Service-Centric IT Environment
An optimized data center has the ability to transform the way businesses use their IT resources. With a virtualized, flexible infrastructure and applications, companies are able to realize the benefits of utility computing. Utility computing (UC) has received much press over the last few
The promise of utility computing, grid computing, and policy-based computing includes many of the aspects provided by the N1 Grid and
This chapter describes how the N1 Grid software can be used to achieve greater strategic business advantage. It discusses some of the challenges in implementing utility solutions, and it shows how utility data centers and the N1 Grid software play a role in the emerging policy-based data center.
The three types of computing discussed in this chapter are:
Utility and grid-based systems will likely become the standard in the
Utility computing is often
Almost everyone agrees with the benefits of UC:
Technically, UC requires the following items:
This model enables IT managers to move toward pool-based management in which systems and other resources are used as they are needed, rather than dedicated for the life cycle of the hardware. IT managers can use the N1 Grid software to reprovision and
UC impacts the following three areas:
Utility is really about aligning as many IT costs with the business as possible, including not only system resources, but transactions, service levels, and most importantly, the users. The ability to create a model that supports strategic flexibility represents the most interesting side effect, enabling the business to move toward a service-based utility.
After physical resources are better aligned with the business, the services, the applications, and the service levels can also be addressed. This is complicated, requiring better application instrumentation and monitoring, but it enables premium services and billing and higher degrees of flexibility. UC is often compared to another famous utility: the power company. The power company has a standard transaction (kilowatt-per-
Just as service has several different meanings in the context of IT, so does the customer. For example, operations provides hardware and operating environment services for application developers. Application developers and
The service utility moves toward billing for transactional and application usage, closely linking IT systems and their cost with the business. For example,
Why focus on billing and how it
The billing and pricing models are important because they provide the incentive for the business to change how it does things. Aligning the IT organization costs to the transaction and to the business enables the business to see how much the services are actually costing. It enables the IT organization to charge the business based on operational cost, and most importantly, it enables the IT organization to make changes in its domain.
If the IT organization wants to move servers around to achieve better cost efficiency or to change applications based on their desired service levels, then the physical IT resources cannot be
by the business unit. The business unit should simply be charged for what it needs, according to its
The N1 Grid software and Sun's managed and utility offerings can help companies move towards this model. The N1 Grid software offers the IT organization better ways to manage its existing and new systems, including infrastructure, application, and data center optimization, as discussed earlier in this book. These technologies can be used, along with others, to provide UC and the service utility.
Utility Computing Enabling
The success of UC requires changes in the business and in the IT organization. The business must be able to change the way it has procured hardware and other system resources over the
Companies did not
In some ways, UC really is not that much different. The IT organization needs to work with the business unit to understand its needs, including the number of CPU or processor units, the amount of storage, or whatever else is required for the service. The business unit needs to move away from the expectation that it owns some hardware in the data center. Rather, it must understand that it is only purchasing a service. The business needs to use cost incentives to help drive business units into accepting this type of model. The reality is that everyone will save money, and the business will achieve better results with a flexible utility model that enables growth and rightsizing of services.
Business Changes for Utility Computing
Building the incentive for the business to change can be difficult, but real cost savings can be demonstrated with the utility model. For example, a business unit might purchase one million dollars worth of servers, and over the course of a few years, use only 20 to 30 percent of their capacity, based on industry averages. This method of purchasing wastes $700,000 to $800,000 on just hardware costs, not counting the ongoing management costs of the hardware. (Using industry estimates from Gartner, acquisition costs make up only 20 percent of the ongoing TCO). If the IT organization is given control over these resources through a UC model, several business units use services from the hardware, reducing TCO by reducing the number of systems to manage.
The previous chapters focused on the technological concepts around creating operational efficiency in management of systems and their applications. Operational efficiency enables a different way of thinking and managing systems, called strategic flexibility. The business aspects of UC also help to enable strategic flexibility -a cornerstone of the ultimate N1 Grid vision. By changing the acquisition model and the resulting effects on the IT organization, strategic flexibility can become a reality. The IT organization would gain the ability to
servers, applications, and their services to gain both internal and external competitive advantages. Systems would no longer be static. They would become dynamic, expanding and shrinking as the business requires. The technology to support the dynamic data center is a
Utility Technologies and the N1 Grid Software
UC and the N1 Grid software require many of the same systems and tools described earlier in this book. UC
FIGURE 11-1 shows the N1 Grid software in relation to other Sun technologies, including Sun remote services. Here, the core system running Sun Java Enterprise System (Java ES) is managed by the N1 Grid software and integrated with Sun's remote management systems.
Figure 11-1. UC Architecture Diagram Showing Remote Services, N1 Grid PS, and N1 Grid SPS
The N1 Grid PS can be used to load common operating system images, based on service requirements. It can also load common management
Systems can be brought into the resource pool by either acquiring new hardware, such as through Sun's utility program, or through decommissioning existing servers. As systems enter the pool, they can be refreshed and updated with the latest operating system loads and tools, so they are ready for application and service provisioning.
The N1 Grid SPS software can then be used to add applications based on business needs. It can perform other end-to-end service provisioning
Analysis with Utility Computing
UC requires the instrumentation, telemetry, and management systems described in the previous sections, along with a strong emphasis on tools to facilitate chargeback and billing models. Tools are also necessary to rightsize resources based on usage and to provide input into the acquisition of new resources.
In "The IT Utility Model -Part II" (Sun BluePrints Online, August 2003), Emily Pagden discusses some of the tools used to enable the chargeback model. It also discusses aspects of the Sun Remote Services technology, which enables companies to purchase systems from Sun in a utility supplier model and enables remote management capabilities.
Today, UC resources are usually billed back to the user or business unit based on resources allocated, not actually utilized. This is important, as users might want the ability to purchase services at a service level that enables them to grow into their allocated resources.
Service Level Management with Utility Computing
As businesses move to UC, the IT organization must provide services at an adequate service level for UC to be successful. This requires both clear and
Some end-to-end service level management tools include Micromuse ISM and Mercury Topaz. They perform
Consolidation with Utility Computing
Another important aspect of enabling UC is looking at systems and applications for consolidation. Server consolidation enables companies to look at the allocated resources and their applications and to analyze those for better density and increased utilization. Consolidation also enables a reduction in TCO by
This process can be used to determine the viability of moving existing services into the UC model. As services get updated, they could be deployed using UC or a plan could be put forth to migrate existing services, depending on the complexity and potential ROI. Appendix B contains references to documents and white papers that discuss server consolidation and service level management. Many of the application profiling activities that are necessary for UC and N1 Grid software implementations are also common with server consolidation.
Standards for the Next Decade
The opportunity and cost savings in reducing ongoing IT costs are quite real. Standards and interoperability between system
Although UC focuses on the business aspects of TCO and the technical aspects of dealing with service growth and contraction, grid computing concentrates on some of these same aspects, while enabling a very distributed architecture. Appendix B contains resources that discuss the implementation of utility computing, the tools, the technologies, and the financial models that can be used to build a service utility.