Top 10 Things I Learned About Cloud Last Week

Logicalis Cloud In a Box!

Logicalis Cloud In a Box!

While travelling back from VMworld EMEA last week, I stopped at London and visited with a fantastic CA Technologies customer and partner, Logicalis UK. Logicalis UK is an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, part of a group that employs over 2,000 people worldwide, with annualized revenues in excess of $1 billion.

Logicalis is doing some amazing things to deliver both public and private hosted cloud using CA Technologies, alongside key strategic partners Cisco and NetApp. While visiting their site in the UK – just outside of London, I learned a lot about the real world of cloud service providers.

The top 10 things I learned about cloud from my visit to Logicalis UK were:

1. Cloudbursting is real & it is happening today

There is a lot of hubbub over whether or not cloudbursting – “the ability to shift an application from a private cloud into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes” – is actually achievable in the real world. Well, I have seen it, and it is real. Logicalis does it today with incredible efficiency, as close to real-time as most mission-critical enterprise applications would realistically need.

2. Cloud in a box is real & exists today – literally

With the unique capabilities of Cisco UCS and NetApp storage, alongside CA Technologies automation and a lot of their own special sauce, Logicalis has literally put a cloud in a box. Wanna see it? Here it is! They have also solved a range of portability and security issues with some very clever solutions, even including the perennial “but what about administrators’ physical access in a public cloud?” dilemma. And they make it look sexy as hell!

3. Expert partners make CA Automation Suite amazing

CA Technologies alone could not have made this unique solution happen without Logicalis – or vice-versa. Nor could we have made this solution work without other great partners, like Cisco and NetApp. Great partnerships like this bring people, process, and technology together to create unique and valuable solutions that are more than the sum of their parts – which is exactly what Logicalis delivers to its customers.

4. Cost savings from cloud can get real, fast

How about two and a half million pounds (~= $3.8m USD) in savings? Is that real enough for you? Logicalis has the numbers, but bottom line: if you avoid building a new data center, or reuse existing office (or classroom, warehouse, cupboard) space instead of dedicated conditioned raised floor space, then the savings can be – and for Logicalis’ customers, are – substantial.

5. You don’t need server virtualization to do cloud

In the aftermath of the VMworld hype a lot of people are equating virtualization with cloud. VMware has a great cloud platform, which Logicalis and CA both support, but Logicalis and CA also deliver cloud services on a range of alternative virtual platforms (including Hyper-V and Xen), and even on bare metal x86 servers (as CA Labs on Demand has been doing in our own private cloud for years). And not just x86, because, as I have learned …

6. You can find public cloud providers that go beyond commodity x86

It is easy to find a public x86 cloud for Linux/Windows workloads; but the options for mission-critical UNIX servers are few and far between. CA’s Labs on Demand provided automated self-service for UNIX for private cloud, and soon Logicalis will be providing UNIX support in their public and on-premise hosted private cloud too, using the UNIX support in CA Automation Suite. There is more special sauce here, but UNIX support is no longer the roadblock to cloud it has been in the past.

7. You can run restrictively licensed apps in the cloud

Again, Logicalis brings some special sauce to migrate even software from large, intractable OS and application vendors from server to server, and even site to site, without license issues or roadblocks. If you have license issues today with cloud, you should talk to Logicalis about how they solved them. Crazy cool!

8. Great things happen when you combine great solutions

Logicalis is not just a CA automation customer, but combines the power of integrating CA Automation Suite for Clouds with CA Spectrum, CA eHealth, and CA ecoSoftware to deliver an incredible solution that is more than the sum of its parts. Alongside Cisco UCS  and NetApp storage, this adds up to a mission-critical, enterprise-grade cloud solution that is unique, differentiated, and truly remarkable.

9. Cloud does indeed make for amazing Disaster Recovery

Logicalis is providing site-to-site replication that automatically detects system failures and replicates the failing environment to a public cloud infrastructure, though not instantaneous, certainly faster than it takes to go grab a coffee. The demonstration of this is amazingly powerful, which leads me to my last learning…

10. Hitting a big red ‘power-kill’ switch still freaks me out a little

Part of the DR demo the Logicalis crew gave me simulated an emergency outage by inviting me to hit this big red kill switch – as seen in data centers everywhere. When I did, I immediately heard the sickening (lack of) sound as the cloud-in-a-box died mid-process. After working in data centers for over 10 years, that sudden silence still gives me a visceral reaction. Much credit to the Cisco and NetApp hardware though – Logicalis has done this hundreds of times, and the box is still running smoothly.

Overall, it was a fantastic site visit for me. Logicalis UK is doing amazing things with CA Technologies and great partners like Cisco and NetApp. Their people were friendly, smart, and highly qualified. Their processes are sophisticated, proven, and automated.

The way they combine these critical elements of people, process, and technology to deliver unique and valuable solutions is an incredible revelation. Make sure to check them out.

This blog was originally published at the CA Technologies Cloud Storm Chasers blog.