Large or Small: Cloud Use Cases Fit All (Organizations)


By Ian Lumb | January 16, 2014 | Cloud Computing, Linux Cluster Management, Amazon EC2, Bright Cluster Manager



`The Cloud’ precipitates casual conversation. Not surprising perhaps, as this weather-borne metaphor puts shape to the state-of-the-art in virtualized IT infrastructure. With actual utilization of The Cloud steadily on the uptick however, conversations are taking on a much more pragmatic tone these days …

For example, `Large Organizations’ are finding it makes sense to complement their substantial on-site resources with resources available from The Cloud. In scenarios like this, The Cloud can be tapped to seamlessly provide additional capacity and/or capability … as needed. In other words, the organization’s on-site footprint is extended into The Cloud in this use case.  

Caption: Organizations and `their’ IT resources. Small Organizations rely on The Cloud to provide them IT resources. In contrast, The Cloud complements on-site IT resources in the case of Large Organizations.   

Start-ups and well-established SMBs are examples of `Small Organizations’ - small in the sense that they possess minimal IT resources on-site. The Cloud also presents a highly tangible value proposition to these organizations, even though they check in as lightweights in terms of numbers. Using their desktops, laptops or even tablets, start-ups and SMBs are placing themselves on a level playing field with the giants of their industry as they work feverishly to validate, demonstrate, establish and ultimately grow a viable business in a cost-effective fashion. Because the bulk of `their’ IT resources reside in The Cloud, this use case is more about creating a footprint in The Cloud.

Large or small, cloud use cases fit all (organizations). End of story - right? Not quite. Why? You need to bridge the gap between use cases and, well, use. More specifically, The Cloud piece needs to be provisioned, monitored and managed - as an extension to the on-site infrastructure for Large Organizations, or as net-new infrastructure for Small Organizations.

Let’s make this more concrete. Suppose you have an interest in Amazon EC2 as your cloud provider. You can use Bright Cluster Manager to provision, monitor and manage Amazon EC2 instances. In fact with Bright you can be extending into Amazon EC2, or creating a net-new cluster in EC2, almost instantly.

Caption: Using Bright Cluster Manager, Small Organizations can create their entire infrastructure in Amazon EC2, whereas Large Organizations can extend their on-site infrastructures into EC2.

This makes for a great start - Bright Cluster Manager’s ability to provision, monitor and manage Amazon EC2 instances. Because Bright is fully integrated with EC2, however, unique capabilities abound. For example, Bright delivers:

  • Virtual Private Clouds - Bright supports Amazon VPC setups. This means that Small Organizations can place Amazon EC2 resources in isolated networks, thereby separating them from the outside world. Large Organizations can route part of a local corporate IP network to a VPC subnet in EC2, so that on-site and EC2 resources can communicate without any effort.

  • Persistence in the cloud - A Bright Cloud Director can be established as a persistent IT resource in Amazon EC2. Such an in-the-cloud resource allows for cloud-local storage as well as the ability to rapidly provision additional resources in EC2.

  • Monitoring and management for the entire IT infrastructure - Bright allows on-site and IT resources based in Amazon EC2 to be seamlessly monitored and managed on an ongoing basis.

  • High availability - Bright clusters in Amazon EC2, or Bright cluster that span EC2 and on-site resources, can all be rendered highly available through tried-and-tested measures of redundancy.

This is all well and good, but what about HPC-in-the-Cloud? Is it a non-starter? Not necessarily, and here’s why: It is possible to align data with compute resources so that they work in concert. This is another area where Bright Cluster Manager really helps by delivering:

  • Locality-based scheduling - Business logic determines where (i.e., on-site versus in-the-cloud) workloads should be executed. Workload managers tightly integrated with the Bright Cluster Manager ensure that this is indeed the case at run time.

  • Data-aware scheduling - Bright Cluster Manager ensures that Amazon EC2 resources aren’t even provisioned until a data transfer nears completion.

Bright Cluster Manager has been provisioning, monitoring and managing Amazon EC2 instances for our customers over the past two years. We’re constantly adding capabilities to improve upon utilization of the The Cloud. Please stay tuned.

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