Cloud computing: exciting future for IT virtualization
Cloud computing is a relatively new (circa late 2007) label for the subset of grid computing that includes utility computing and other approaches to the use of shared computing resources. Cloud computing is an alternative to having local servers or personal devices handling users' applications. Essentially, it is an idea that the technological capabilities should "hover" over everything and be available whenever a user wants.
Although the early publicity on cloud computing was for public offerings over the public Internet by companies such as Amazon and Google, private cloud computing is starting to come of age. A private cloud is a smaller, cloudlike IT system within a corporate firewall that offers shared services to a closed internal network. Consumers of such a cloud would include the employees across various divisions and departments, business partners, suppliers, resellers and other organizations.
Shared services on the infrastructure side such as computing power or data storage services (or on the application side such as a single customer information application shared across the organization) are suitable candidates for such an approach. Of course, IT virtualization would be the basis of the infrastructure design for the shared services, and this will help drive energy efficiency for our green data centers of the future.
Because a private cloud is exclusive in nature and limited in access to a set of participants, it has inherent strengths with respect to security aspects and control over data. Also, the approach can provide advantages with respect to adherence to corporate and regulatory compliance guidelines. These considerations for a private cloud are very significant for most large organizations.
Cluster architecture for virtual servers
There are now many IT vendors offering virtual servers and other virtual systems. Cluster architecture for these virtual systems provides another significant step forward in data center flexibility and provides an infrastructure for very efficient private cloud computing. By completely virtualizing servers, storage and networking, an entire running virtual machine can be moved instantaneously from one server to another.