Ensuring SLA compliance and disaster recovery in the cloud

Ensuring SLA compliance and disaster recovery in the cloud


Thursday, December 08, 2011 | Dan Blacharski

A strategic move to the cloud is often driven by two or three key considerations, most often, these include the ability to reduce capital expense and establish more predictable operating expense, and establishing a more scalable and more easily manageable infrastructure.
  
Whilst a company’s first foray into the cloud is likely to be proof-of-concept applications that are less mission-critical, more companies are finding it advantageous to strategically move more of their operations to the cloud - including those applications that require greater guarantees from the provider. As demand for cloud services rise, market realities dictate that cloud providers offer continuously more robust cloud services that are capable of meeting the requirements of increasingly mission-critical software. The cloud has indeed become more than a proof-of-concept; no longer a curiosity or place to run less essential servers. The cloud is a reliable, enterprise platform now capable of supporting any application on any hardware. A new wave of cloud infrastructure, led by companies such as Egenera, have brought the cloud and virtualisation to the next level - combining server virtualisation with network and storage virtualisation, making the IT infrastructure more scalable and agile, and making the data centre less complex.
 
As a result, cloud providers must be able to offer and support detailed service level agreements, and provide for disaster recovery. Quality of service (QoS) in fact, should not be overlooked when considering a cloud provider, and the infrastructure is now available for the cloud provider to be able to offer a reliable and enforceable QoS component of the SLA. When the cloud provider is able to ensure that applications have the capacity, availability, and response time to meet the service levels required, the cloud moves to the next level and becomes a strategic asset to the enterprise.
 
Data centre virtualisation company Egenera, through its PAN Manager software, addresses this need. Through its latest release, version 7.1, PAN Manager allows for recovery automation in the cloud with a one-click recovery system, automatically reinstating any environment, including hypervisors, OS, application, network, and policies. This level of verifiable recovery is essential for a cloud provider to be able to meet the demands of its clients, and to comply with its SLA.
 
Platforms such as the GXS Trading Grid for example, recently named the Software-as-a-Service Product of the Year at the 201 Techworld Awards in London, simply would be impossible without deep guarantees of reliability, an enforceable and detailed SLA, and guaranteed disaster recovery. The integration platform, which handles B2B transactions across trading communities, manages 10 billion transactions a year. Platforms like GXS of course, are very demanding, and their very existence is dependent on a reliable cloud with DR capability and SLA compliance to gain the confidence of their end users.
 
A cloud customer should have confidence in the cloud services it is using. Reduced costs and lower capex are desirable outcomes, but without confidence, those outcomes mean nothing. In today’s highly competitive cloud environment though, more cloud providers are turning to tools like Egenera to ensure that their clouds are able to offer the guarantees that cloud customers require.
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