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Posted by on in Cloud Best Practices
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Top 7 Requirements from Infrastructure Cloud Providers

Right now, a huge number of service providers are making plans to launch computing clouds, and I thought it would be interesting to outline some of the requirements I often hear from prospective cloud providers here.

1. "Our clouds need to run on inexpensive storage."
- This is a huge issue for most service providers. The storage industry is built on the back of...

Right now, a huge number of service providers are making plans to launch computing clouds, and I thought it would be interesting to outline some of the requirements I often hear from prospective cloud providers here.

1. "Our clouds need to run on inexpensive storage."
- This is a huge issue for most service providers. The storage industry is built on the back of NAS and SAN, but for cloud providers, the overwhelming preference is for inexpensive local disk, or DAS solutions. That said, every cloud provider I talk with expects storage to be independent of the host physical server, redundant, and provide support for HA.

2. "We want to build on an Open-Source Hypervisor."
- Service providers know that if they plan to compete with Amazon, Rackspace and other cloud providers, on price, VMware is not a good option. Whether they prefer Xen or KVM, everyone expects an open-source hypervisor to power the virtualization layer of the cloud. Perhaps because it is being used by Amazon, Xen seems to be the most popular hypervisor for Infrastructure clouds among the service providers I've spoken with.

3. "We need a  way to integrate with our Billing & Provisioning apps."
- At the end of the day, most hosting companies and MSPs have billing and user management approaches that they have built-up over the years. Every one of the companies I've spoken with expect their cloud solution to plug into these existing systems. This means there needs to be a simple to use API for integrating a cloud service with existing management tools.

4. "We need to support both Windows and Linux VMs, and that means image based pricing"
- Most service providers I talk to expect Linux to make up the majority of the images they run int he cloud, but they still need to make sure the cloud will support Windows, and all of the associated technology necessary to manage licenses. This means pricing needs to be possible not only per instance, but also depending on what software is installed on an image.

5. "We want an API, but also a UI that makes admin simple for end-users."
- Plenty of end-users will leverage a Clouds API to automatically provision and manage virtual machines, but that doesn't change the need for a simple UI. Most hosting companies have a huge number of end-users who are used to working with control panels, and an Infrastructure cloud needs to make life easy for these end-users. Specific functionality requests tend to be around

6. "Cloud images need to be more reliable than dedicated servers."
-  Over the next few years, many of the large providers of dedicated servers will be offering their customers the option to transition to virtual machines running on a computing cloud. For this to be successful, VMs need to offer better reliability than dedicated machines at a lower cost. With HA enabled VMs, support for redundant storage, and multiple availability zones, there is no doubt that service providers can offer a VM that is more reliable than a dedicated server.

7. "We want a turn-key solution, not something we have to maintain."
- While first movers in the cloud space had to do most of the coding them selves to turn a hypervisor like Xen into a cloud offering, service providers today can implement a completely integrated cloud stack on commodity hardware, and receive ongoing maintenance and upgrades over the years. Equally important, service providers can license software on a consumption basis, so upfront investment is negligable.

I'm sure there are others, but I hope this gives you a flavor of some of the things we hear from our customers, and other cloud providers in the industry. You can learn more about our turn-key cloud software, the Cloud.com CloudStack, on our website, www.cloud.com.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 - 08:21
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Guest Saturday, 19 July 2014

Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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