Getting the Hybrid Cloud Right!

Dec 20, 2011

As many of you may know,  I am writing a case study book highlighting some of the great ways that users in the public sector are taking advantage of cloud computing.  I hope that this book will help the many of you who are “on the fence” about cloud to see the ways that others are realizing the benefits of cloud and spur you into action!

One of the many goals of the book is to clear up the misconceptions and misunderstandings about the various cloud options that are available to you today.  The book will also address who the major players are for each cloud model and the issues surrounding each of these models, not the least of which is the security issue.

I am learning many fascinating things as I write this book and am gaining great in-depth knowledge about the subject matter.  One of the greatest benefits of the writing process has been the great people I get to meet along the way. For example, I was fortunate enough to conduct an interview last week with Anil Karmel. While there are several folks in the public sector that are implementing hybrid cloud correctly, saving money, and gaining the agility and flexibility that this architecture promises, Anil has already done it once and is now beginning to implement this architecture agency-wide. So why is this important for government?  Here is a public sector guy who really “gets” cloud computing and does not just talk about it.  He has actually implemented it. Not just once, but is moving on to implement it several times.  And he has the numbers to back it up.

For anyone totally lost at this point, let’s review. Remember that a hybrid cloud is a combination of an on-premise private or community cloud (called a cloud cell) and a public cloud (another cell), all managed as one large cloud implementation.

Anil started by virtualizing his then-current infrastructure using VMware.  Here are some of his amazing results:

  • 400 total VM’s running in a 13 Server VMware DRS/HA cluster with an average resource utilization of 85%
  • 30:1 consolidation ratio
  • 105 physical servers decommissioned
  •  3 data centers retired
  •  Approximately 1.9 million dollars in electrical savings
Then he moved on to create the hybrid cloud environment, using his internal cloud and the vCloud implementation of the Public Cloud Provider, Terremark.  Here are some of the results:
  •  Almost 2,000,000 Kw*h saved per year. (It takes approx 8,900 Kw*h to power one average home, so the savings would power approx 225 homes!)
  • Reduced average provisioning time from 30 days to 30 minutes!

Anil said that although they were not fully virtualized, they had designed a system “for the 80%”.  In other words, while this system doesn’t cover everyone’s needs at LANL, it meets the needs of 80% of the users and for them- that was a huge success.  Anil has won several awards for his work. While you can Google him, here is one of the many articles you can read about him and his hybrid Cloud implementation at the Los Alamos National Labs.  Anil was also the recipient of the 2009 NNSA Best in Class Pollution Prevention Award for Server Virtualization.

Anil believes it is critical to engage and win support from key stakeholders before embarking on a major consolidation or cloud computing initiative. Anil and his team focused hard on auditing their legacy environment and mapping the chargeback relationships between computing resources and the business customers who foot the bill.  Anil firmly believes that in order to really change things,  you need to show your customers how they can get better service at less cost  and more importantly, how that applies not just at the installation level, but to their program and budget.

Anil does get a chance to speak on cloud now and again. If you get a chance to be in the audience and are considering cloud for your agency, I recommend that you make it a point to be there!  After all, if you follow in his footsteps, you will be following a true innovator!


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