SIX NEAR- FUTURE SCENARIOS
An Ubuntu workbook from Canonical
INTRODUCTIONIn boardrooms across the world,
millions of CIOs are taking a bold step into an uncertain future.
Cloud computing is barely proven in the enterprise. No one knows for sure how it will turn out, which strategies will prove to be successful and which will end in misery. Few people can even agree on what cloud computing is.
But what everyone does know is that something has to be done.
• Data centres can scarcely handle the kind of workloads created by today’s resource-hungry business processes – and they’re minuscule compared with what’s just around the corner.
• Overloaded infrastructures and soaring power costs are obstructing innovation – at a time when fortune is rewarding businesses who dare to be different.
• The pace of business is going optical – with frictionless data transfer driving processes that are literally completed at the speed of light.
Enterprises have to keep up, and the only viable way to do that is by moving to a cloud IT infrastructure – whether that’s in a private cloud, in the public cloud, or in a hybrid environment.
Cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
“ The provision of processing, storage,
networks, and other fundamental
computing resources where the consumer
is able to deploy and run arbitrary software,
which can include operating systems
and applications. The consumer does
not manage or control the underlying
cloud infrastructure but has control over
operating systems, storage, deployed
applications, and possibly limited control
of select networking components.”
– NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, National Institute of Standards and Technology, October 2009
But with so much uncertainty today, how can you build a strategy that’s fit for the future?
That’s what this ebook is about. We’ve imagined six near-future scenarios that may not (quite) be reality today, but which will very likely creep up on most enterprises in the next few years.
Plan your IaaS strategy with these scenarios in mind, and you’ll be well placed to take advantage of what the cloud can offer. Ignore them, and you’ll find the cloud is more limiting than liberating.
You’ll notice a common theme running through them: a cloud
infrastructure based on open-source technologies will serve you better than one based on proprietary technologies.
We would say that; we’re the
company behind Ubuntu, the world’s most popular open-source operating system. But it’s not just us. Ubuntu is one of the most popular instances on leading public cloud services, including Amazon Web Services and Rackspace. It’s a core component of the OpenStack platform, which is emerging as the de facto standard for large-scale cloud computing. And it’s increasingly the platform of choice for private enterprise clouds too. For the full story of why Ubuntu is the ideal platform for the enterprise cloud, make our white paper Ubuntu Cloud: Technologies for
future-thinking companies next on your reading list.
But for now, come with us on a trip to the future…
MORE THAN JUST AN OPERATING SYSTEM:
Run a reliable, secure and proven OS in both your public and private cloud environments.
UBUNTU CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE:
Build your own cloud with Ubuntu. Manage cloud work-loads on your own servers and send workwork-loads to the public cloud when you need extra capacity.
UBUNTU CLOUD GUEST:
Deploy Ubuntu guest instances on demand, either with popular public cloud providers (AWS, Rackspace) or on your own Ubuntu-based infrastructure.
Deploy, orchestrate and scale services instantly in the public, private or hybrid cloud with Juju’s revolutionary charms*. (* Our name for a reusable encapsulation of the knowledge needed to deploy a service on one or more servers. Professionals can use Juju charms to deploy new services instantly, with no new coding required.)
Get the best from your Ubuntu cloud deployment with expert systems administration, fast problem resolution and unlimited access to Ubuntu specialists.
SIX FUTURE SCENARIOS YOU
NEED TO CONSIDER TODAY
We’re not technical futurologists at Canonical, but when you’re at the centre of a worldwide community of technology developers, evangelists and enterprise IT strategists, you tend to get a good view of where things are heading.
Here are six technology-driven scenarios that may not be affecting your business today, but almost certainly will be by 2016. Building your cloud strategy with these in mind will put you on a much more certain path to success.
YOUR BUSINESS GOES LIGHT-SPEED
The pace of business is accelerating, and those who work fastest will win. Cloud strategy needs to take into account not just efficiency gains and cost savings, but the power to do things faster than anyone else. That could be analysing stock
movements, delivering search results, diagnosing faults, generating quotes – anything where immediacy means competitive edge.
In the elastic world of the cloud, that advantage will come from being able to deploy new servers and services instantly. Choosing the right cloud platform and management tools will let your business surge ahead while others lag behind, laboriously
provisioning each new server and service by hand.
Remember when contracts took weeks to sign as documents went back and forth in the post? Today, that process can be completed in an hour. In five years’ time, processes that take an hour today may take seconds, or fractions of seconds.
WHERE UBUNTU FITS:
Ubuntu’s innovative service management tool, Juju, lets you create and deploy new services in seconds, and scale them up or down dynamically based on simple, pre-writ-ten commands. Why crawl with proprietary systems when you can fly with Juju?
Make sure you can deploy new cloud services faster than the competition.
As the pace of business speeds up you’re going to need to work fast (faster than your competitors) and cheaply (so that the speed advantage pays dividends).
CLOUD-SWITCHING BECOMES THE NORM
Private clouds are great for making better use of available computing resources, but the real game-changer will be the ability to ‘burst’
high-intensity workloads out to the public cloud whenever a massive boost in computing resource is needed for a short period of time.
So if you’re an online retail business anticipating a seasonal rush of
customers, or a startup that lands the front page of Time Magazine, you can cope with the huge spike in traffic without having to add new servers that you won’t need later (or worse; face your website falling over at a critical time).
That means getting the infrastructure in place today that will let you move applications and data between your private cloud and a public cloud like Amazon Web Services or Rackspace. If you’re using a proprietary operating system and API from a private cloud vendor today, that’s going to be very, very hard. Building your cloud infrastructure on open standards means you’ll be able to shimmy between different cloud models at will – while others stay locked behind the firewall.
to make changes to code to
use a given platform. The costs
associated with changing
processes, procedures and
retraining staff could also be
considered impediments to
moving from one platform
– Dan Kuznetsky, ZDnet, September 2011
WHERE UBUNTU FITS:
Ubuntu’s completely open infrastructure adheres to de facto industry standards (Amazon APIs, etc.), so you’ll be able to move easily between cloud providers when you need to.
Give yourself the option to switch easily between private and public clouds.
THE DATA CENTRE GOES GREEN
If the trend continues, it’s going to have knock-on effects all over the place, from cloud infrastructure providers charging more for access to computing resources, to
enterprises choosing to ration (or not carry out) potentially innovative processes because they consume too much energy. That’s not even considering the biggest knock-on effect of all: the impact on the environment. Something disruptive needs to happen for cloud computing to stay economically viable and environmentally positive. That
something may be the arrival of new, energy-efficient microprocessors.
HP’s decision to create a new server line powered by energy-efficient ARM chipsets hints at a future in which x86 servers are joined by a competing hardware platform: one highly suited for the massively scalable, distributed workloads common in cloud
What does this have to do with your cloud strategy? It suggests you shouldn’t rush to settle on hardware that may prove needlessly costly in the long run. When those new, low-cost, high-density ARM servers arrive, you’ll want the freedom to use the optimum platform. You won’t want to find yourself locked into hardware that’s not the right choice for your workloads.
With energy prices and data volumes soaring, the cost of running a traditional datacentre is already nearing unworkable levels.
in financial markets has increased
scale-up or scale-out architectures are
struggling to keep up with
de-mand without vastly increasing
cost and power usage”
- Niall Dalton, director of high-frequency trading at Cantor Fitzgerald, quoted in the
Financial Times, November 2011
WHERE UBUNTU FITS:
Canonical is working closely with ARM and other
innovative hardware vendors to optimise Ubuntu for new, energy-efficient chipsets. If your cloud strategy depends on reducing power consumption and costs,
this is definitely a trend to watch. KEY TAKEAWAY:
VIRTUAL IMAGE SPRAWL
DRAGS YOUR BUSINESS DOWN
Because virtualisation relies on virtual machine images to replace physical servers, the more servers you virtualise, the more those
images start to proliferate. And when you don’t have any physical machines limiting what you can do, it’s very easy for virtual machines to get out
Pretty soon, your ‘low-cost’ cloud environment ends up costing the earth, as thousands of individual server images – at a minimum of 8GB each – start filling up disk space, incurring new license fees (if you’re using a proprietary operating system) and keeping an army of sysadmins busy documenting, monitoring and patching an increasingly
unmanageable virtual IT landscape.
Virtual image sprawl is already
a major headache for IT departments, and will only get worse as time goes on. As Ken Hess of Linux Today puts it, “Virtual machine sprawl is the new virus in IT data centers, and it’s increasing your total cost of
ownership.” (Virtual Machine Sprawl: What Does It Cost You?, Linux Today, 6th October 2008)
In five years’ time, image sprawl in the cloud could be costing you more than a physical data centre – tying up much-needed cash and computing resources and blunting your
Virtualisation may seem like a great solution for data centre
consolidation, but if virtualisation is your first step on the path to the cloud, beware of its hidden dangers.
we find overspending of some
form. In a relatively small
environment of approximately
325 virtual machines, we found
more than $200,000 in
over-spending and inefficiencies.”- Jay Litkey, CEO, Embotics, quoted in
Forbes.com, The Costs of Virtual Sprawl, December 2009
WHERE UBUNTU FITS:
With Ubuntu you can use a single machine image to serve hundreds (or even thousands) of cloud instances, carrying similar or different roles. Ubuntu’s Landscape manage-ment console manages and controls your cloud images. And, using Juju, you can deploy services like patches across your entire cloud infrastucture.
(MORE) GLOBAL ECONOMIC TURMOIL
However things pan out, recent events suggest that over-zealous spending is not a great recipe for longevity. In other words, the less you spend (on unnecessary things), the better placed you are to adapt, survive and grow whatever the economic climate.
Traditional IT investments are
starting to fall into that category of ‘unnecessary things’. One of the big attractions of cloud is that it frees businesses from having to buy new hardware for every new application, service or bank of users.
But what about software? The other big attraction of cloud is that you can scale computing resources up or down with demand. But if you have to pay a license fee for every new OS instance you spin up, it gets decidedly less attractive.
Instead, choose a free, open-source platform and apps for your cloud environment, and spend your money on something more worthwhile.
With experts saying we’re now in uncharted territory economy-wise, businesses need to prepare for all eventualities: continued slowdown, a ‘lost decade’ of stagnation, or a glorious post-bust boom.
WHERE UBUNTU FITS:
With Ubuntu you can scale services endlessly without incurring license costs. Add 50, 100, or 500 machines to a private cloud or spin up an unlimited number of guest instances on public infrastructure, with no increase in license fees. That’s the true economic promise of cloud. KEY TAKEAWAY:
Open-source cloud software frees up cash to fund business growth initiatives.
“ By year-end 2012, half of the
Global 100 will have at least one
service that they consider to be a
private cloud computing service,
using virtual machines as a basic
Gartner Presentation: Server Virtualisation : From Virtual Machines to Clouds, 2009
ORGANISATIONAL BARRIERS (FINALLY) BREAK DOWN
That’s starting to change now, accelerated by the move to a cloud infrastructure. Key aspects include: • Software development that
is in ‘continuous integration’ mode rather than following
discrete release cycles – meaning development becomes an ongoing operational function
• The increasing irrelevance of the underlying hardware as IT environments become a set of software services running on
virtualised servers in an off-premise data centre
• The need to develop, deploy and modify services very fast in order to meet changing business demand In response to a new IT environment, a unified, culture of ‘devops’ is
emerging. It sees developers and administrators collaborating on the specification, development, testing, deployment, management and modification of apps and services. In future, organisations that take the devops route will meet business requirements better, put services into production earlier, and modify services faster. As a close-knit devops culture emerges, a more efficient IT organisation will improve quality,
A lot of business inefficiency is caused by organisational barriers between functions that should work closely together. There’s no better example than IT development and IT operations. Historically, the two functions have operated in silos, so every time a new application or service is required, time, knowledge and quality get lost between the software being developed and it being put into production.
WHERE UBUNTU FITS:
Members of the Ubuntu developer community are at the forefront of the devops movement, working hard to forge a new, unified working culture in their respective organisations. Canonical’s Juju supports a devops
approach by providing a tool for encapsulating knowledge about how to deploy, scale and orchestrate services in the Cloud. ‘Charms’ created with Juju are distillations of knowledge that can be re-used by devops professionals to roll out and manage new services in the cloud in a rapid and highly efficient way.
Things are going to change a lot in the next five years. The massive acceleration of every aspect of business, the global energy crisis, the murky economic outlook– all these factors will have a critical influence on corporate strategy.
CIOs have it harder than most, because the technology choices they make today will need to see the business through the turbulent times ahead.
While cloud is undoubtedly the right way to go, the choice of vendor, infrastructure, tools and applications will all have a serious impact on future success. Keeping options open and flexible is the best strategy – and there’s no more open, flexible and future-proof platform for the enterprise cloud than Ubuntu.
To find out more about how you can build your enterprise cloud with Ubuntu, contact us today.
A PRIVATE CLOUD IN JUST 5 DAYS
If you’re ready to get started with the cloud, you
might want to learn more about our Jumpstart offering: a private cloud in 5 days with a dedicated Canonical engineer on-site.
Jumpstart is a fast, low-risk route to deploy private cloud infrastructure on your premises. Compatible with the Rackspace, HP and Amazon public clouds, it costs just $9,000 and it’s guaranteed to take just five days.
LEARN MORE ABOUT
On demand webinar with Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth and Stephen O’Grady, RedMonk Ubuntu Cloud
Ubuntu Cloud: Technologies for future-thinking companies Top misconceptions about cloud complexity