The unique requirements of cloud-based enterprise applications

We just published on IT Structures web site the white paper I was working on.

Not So Virtual Cloud, But Virtually Nice

Not So Virtual Cloud, But Virtually Nice

Here is the abstract and the full paper can be found here. If you want to get to the technical part, jump to the requirements section below.

  • The unique requirements of cloud-based on-demand multi-tenant applications
  • Limitations of existing building blocks in virtualization and enterprise software technologies
  • Introducing an intelligent technology layer to provide automation of environment setup & provisioning, elasticity, resource allocation and scalability

The Challenge: Virtual Labs for Sales and Training

The days of “blind” purchasing of enterprise software and hardware solutions based on vendor promises alone are a thing of the past.

Customers have universally adopted a “try before you buy” approach, demanding not only a generic evaluation of the solution prior to purchase, but also a proof-of-concept (POC) implementation using their own data, integrated with their own applications and in their own environment. Equally, customers
want to invest the minimum effort in such POCs, whose setup is often more time- and resource-consuming than the actual evaluation process.

Vendors consequently find themselves providing POCs and pilot projects with a significant increase in cost of sales and a lengthened sales cycle: tying up hardware inventory, wasting sales engineers’ time at customer premises and inflating travel costs. The same often applies to post-sales training, where the vendor must provide staff for training and the cost is borne by either the vendor or the buyer, or both.

Thankfully, the convergence of virtualization and cloud computing is making POCs, interactive demos and postsale training easier and more accessible, at least in theory.

Since any network environment, server or application can run as a VM, and since cloud infrastructure can run such VMs (as well as real hardware) on demand as a service, it is logical that the two can be combined to deliver scalable, multi-tenant, on-demand provisioning and management of virtualized POCs, demos and training. Such a solution would deliver “virtual engagement” of customers during pre- and post-sales stages and reduce the expensive, lengthy real-world sales processes.

Unfortunately, although the base infrastructure and building-block components are available, assembling them to deliver virtual sales engagement and training is not at all straightforward. This is where IT Structures steps in.

This white paper explains the complex requirements for on-demand virtual engagement delivered as a cloud based service, and how IT Structures developed its ground-breaking orchestration technology in order provide it in a scalable, flexible model.

The Requirements

Cloud-based solutions must fulfill at least all the requirements expected from traditional data center management tools, software-as–a-service solutions and modern virtualization environments.

The core requirements are:
1. Complexity and Realism – The ability to build and run any enterprise application or appliance in a multi server
environment, with a complex networking topology that can be connected to the internet and to on premise
data centers.

2. Instant Gratification – Trying out a new environment should be fast and easy. As a result, the performance of the system must be excellent and it must not require any dedicated client installation. In an elastic production environment it is critical to have a frictionless solution because of the extremely frequent changes.

3. Multi-Tenant and Tiered – the system must support multiple software vendors working at the same time;
it must allow multiple enterprise customers to work at the same time on an identical but separate copy of the environment. The system must ensure the complete privacy and security for each user. The service must ensure that failures are confined to a specific environment and do not propagate across the system.

4. Replication – The system must be able to replicate a template of an IT environment and create hundreds of new customized running instances on the fly. This is critical for production, training and demo solutions and is at the core of the cloud concept.

5. Internet Enabled – All functionality must be available over the internet. The service must allow secure access to environments over the web on the one hand, and simulate private networks on the other hand. All instances should run concurrently and be accessible in the cloud.

6.Self Service – The service is geared towards both non-technical as well as technical users. It must abstract complex, composite IT operations into simple, web-based, single-click business operations.

7. Availability – The service must be able to recover from failures automatically, maintain exceptional uptime and provide self-healing and recovery functionality across all its components. Even when certain tasks fail, the service should optimize its resources to provide the highest service levels to the maximal number of
customers.

To read the way we achieve the implementation you can get the full paper or just send me an email.

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One Response to “The unique requirements of cloud-based enterprise applications”

  1. The story of the stranded POC « Silly Features – a blog from Uri Gilad Says:

    […] a customer comes along) this requirement makes absolute sense. I was actually once part of a start-up focusing just on making POCs […]

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