Managing and Monitoring the Cloud
Ryan Boyles 100000UX41 firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  integration saas monitoring amywohl tivoli service-management erp cloud cast-iron
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Successfully using cloud computing is all about integrating between the on-premises data center and the cloud, as well as between multiple clouds. This requires a method for monitoring and managing all of your projects from a single point of view, accessible from anywhere. It also means being able to readily include new projects in your management environment, easily scaling up to include them.
The problem is picking a solution at the beginning (when you’re simply attaching two things) that will scale up to include everything: public clouds, private clouds, smart cloud offerings, Amazon’s EC2 compute cloud offerings, and IT applications running in your data center. Making the investment in the right solution at the beginning means everything you want to integrate later will be achieved in a simple and elegant way.
An offering like IBM’s Cast Iron integrates with IBM’s Tivoli monitoring and service management offerings, providing robust integration. It can run as an on-premise appliance, a virtual instance of that appliance, or as a SaaS multi-tenant service; this may be the preferred method for many customers as it eliminates both hardware and software and its maintenance.
Generally, customers in the mid-market prefer this class of software as a service (SaaS) since they have smaller IT departments and fewer resources. Their mandate is to do more with less.
Enterprise customers, on the other hand, are more likely to select an appliance-based solution; the integration is already performed and the appliance offers them the additional control they prefer. For them, Cast Iron is an out-of-the-box solution. It provides monitoring, scaling up, maintenance, and upgrades, which is often 3 to 5 times the cost of the initial implementation.
Integration and monitoring both include some risk. If you use best practices, you can lessen or even eliminate that risk.
Some applications are not ready to run entirely in the cloud. For example, if you have terabytes of data in your on-premises system, it is not really possible to transfer that data to the cloud because of the amount of time it would take for the transfer. It’s better to leave the data where it is and use an integration tool to connect to it.
For example, at Siemens they are using Cast Iron to integrate their on-premises ERP system with their SaaS-based SalesForce.com CRM system. Click here for a video on how Siemens uses Cast Iron. You will find videos from other customers at the same link.
If you plan to connect a cloud to an on-premises application, you will need monitoring for data quality, security, and preparing for any inevitability in any geographic setting, such as local circumstances, failover, etc. You may also find yourselves having to support multiple divisions, spread out geographically, some with few IT resources of their own.
So as we’ve been discussing here, to fully exploit cloud computing, you will need secure integrations between all of your on-premises and cloud-based environments. Get started planning with a white paper on Cast Iron (PDF). Integration is such an important topic that we’ll be talking about it in future blogs, from other points of view.