Enable agility with infrastructure-as-code

The Cloud Age

In the olden days of ‘yore, when anyone wanted a new server they would embark on a ritual that would involve everything from ordering the physical server from a supplier to provisioning the server after installation. This process would involve multiple time-consuming indirect actions, and could take up to months. Have you ever seen one of those American TV ads where some distressed person in an irrational amount of agony is shown as an example of a pain point? Yeah? Well, it was kinda like that.

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How can self-service provisioning in CloudForms benefit your organization?

GUEST POST: Software and configuration management made easy with RPM

by Christian Stankowic

If you’re maintaining multiple Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems (or equivalent offsets like CentOS or Scientific Linux) your administration work with the particular hosts will gain in a routine. Because even the best administrator might forget something it would be advantageously to have a central software and configuration management solution. Chef and Puppet are two very mighty and popular mangement tools for this application. Depending on your system landscape and needs these tools might also be oversized though – Red Hat Package Manager (RPM) can emerge as a functional alternative in this case.

It is often forgotten that RPM can be used for sharing own software and configurations as well. If you’re not managing huge system landscapes with uncontrolled growth of software and want to have a easy-to-use solution, you might want to have a look at RPM.

I’m myself using RPM to maintain my whole Red Hat Enterprise Linux system landscape – this article will show you how easy RPM can be used to simplify system management.

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Cloud Adoption for Enhanced Business Stability

by Satish Irrinki (Red Hat)

Increasingly in today’s world, data centers are moving towards software-defined computing, networking, and storage. IT infrastructure that supports the application and data workloads is moving from bare metal servers to cloud. While the most obvious justification for this shift can be summarized as increased efficiency, capacity utilization, and flexibility (to scale up or down), there are less obvious fundamental economic and financial principles in play that contribute to overall business stability of the organizations and lines of business (LOB).

Cloud computing has changed the cost structure of IT infrastructure. Historically, IT infrastructure was considered a capital expenditure (CapEx) that requires large upfront investments leading to higher fixed costs for the business. With the advent of cloud computing, primarily because of its pay-for-use billing model, IT expenditure shifted from fixed operating cost structure to variable operating cost (OpEx) model.

This shift not only decreases the need for larger cash flow requirements or, in lieu, higher liabilities on balance sheet (akin to capitalization of lease expenses) for the CapEx, it also reduces the volatility in the operating income for the business.

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Determining your ‘migration mission statement’…and why it’s important

by Thomas Crowe (Red Hat)

A key component to a successful migration is a “migration mission statement.” The migration mission statement’s purpose is to summarize the key parts of a migration into a succinct, simply-communicated format that results in a clearly defined migration goal that is easily measurable for success. A sample migration mission statement could be:

Migrate the Acme Order Processing java application from the current proprietary IBM hardware running AIX and WebSphere into a cloud infrastructure running Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss Application Server; in order to provide better TCO and ROI, as well as provide increased scalability and reliability. The migration should be performed during non-peak hours, have minimal downtime requirements, and provide for rollback if necessary.

Generally speaking, there are several factors that go into planning and executing a successful migration project. But by answering the following questions, a significant amount of the information necessary for a successful migration can be gathered.

What?
The most basic question to initially ask is simply, “What is being migrated?” This simple question sets the stage for gathering the additional information that is required. Is the migration moving all services from one server to another? Maybe it is migrating an application from one application server to another, or migrating storage from one array to another. Each of these scenarios are going to have unique data-gathering requirements that need to be understood in order to successfully plan and ultimately execute a successful migration.

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My thoughts on open source

by Bruno Lima

Long an acquaintance and ally of government institutions, open source is no longer considered rocket science by the enterprise.

Companies find open source attractive because they’re not tied to one vendor, can make improvements in the system at any time and realize cost savings, all helping boost market penetration. And, of course, there’s the benefit of communities continuously improving the products.

In the outside world, governments are strong sponsors of this type of initiative, especially in Brazil, where the use of free and open source software is encouraged to make the market more democratic. And, of course, the market has become increasingly more open to open source. While there were once concerns about the reliability, security, and functionality, those fears are all gone. Red Hat has made it possible to combine the benefits of these technologies with the necessary support for mission-critical environments, developing platforms and the specific demands organizations face.

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Five top tips for the journey to cloud

by Malcolm Herbert (Red Hat)

The post below originally appeared here on November 22, 2012.

A comparison between enterprise IT and public cloud computing dramatically highlights the benefits of moving to cloud.

Application deployment times can shrink from weeks in the traditional data centre to minutes in a cloud data centre; new application development time accelerates from years to weeks (or months at most); cost per virtual machine plummets from dollars to cents; server administrator ratios can explode from 20:1 to 300:1; while efficiency increases, with resource utilisation soaring from 20% to 75%.

With measurable benefits like these, it’s no wonder that IDC expects that by 2015 the majority of the enterprise market will require integrated hybrid cloud management capabilities (Source: IDC Cloud Management Study, 2011 Survey).

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Cloud Sniff Test: Cutting through the jargon

by David Kang (Red Hat)

Cloud is not software, cloud is not hardware, cloud is not virtualization, and cloud is certainly not a panacea for broken IT. Cloud is an architecture: a set of fundamental tenets that have different implications at different levels of IT, from network, to hardware, to applications, and to the IT process itself. To say you have a cloud is to say that you have a cohesive architecture, technology set, and most importantly processes, that work towards a defined goal under a set of well-understood principals. Building your cloud is as much about defining your goals and governing principals as it is about investing in technology.

Building your cloud and consuming cloud services
Step one is defining your governing principals. This is a crucial step before embarking on your cloud journey as the policies and principals you define will help you navigate your journey through the rapidly expanding cloud ecosystem. This is also an opportunity to ask tough questions and examine what your principals and processes are, and why you have them. Process is ultimately about managing risk, so consider what risks are acceptable under your governance policies and weigh them against the potential benefits cloud can offer. Both Facebook and Google have adopted “deploy to production” models that seem to fly in the face of process conventions such as ITIL or RUP, yet somehow they seem to survive. The penalty for not doing this exercise is ballooning adoption costs, or failed rollouts all together.

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