Dan's Take

Capacity Planning and Management with StrataCloud

Tools for the specific challenges of SDDCs.

Two StrataCloud executives -- Brian Cohen, CEO, and Heather Foster, VP Marketing -- came by to bring me up-to-date on the company and its products. The company's goals are to help enterprises evolve from today's static datacenter implementations to implementing software-defined datacenters (SDDCs).

What Does StrataCloud Do?
StrataCloud is a new name for a company with a long history: Reflex Systems. The current owners acquired the technology and the assets of Reflex, which was known for its virtual systems management tool Virtualization Management Center (VMC). StrataCloud decided that it would be best to build upon the successful implementations of VMC and focus its ongoing efforts on capacity planning and capacity management for the SDDC. (Please see "Defining 'Software-Defined' Environments" for a better understanding of what this means.)

SDDC Challenges
Although many suppliers in the industry bandy about the catchphrase "software-defined" when trying to persuade enterprises to change from traditional, static datacenter environments to something much more agile, they often leave out the part that the systems and workloads executing in the enterprise datacenter must continue to fulfill their missions while the transformation happens.

Dan's Take: Don't Be Surprised
As I've mentioned before, the promise of a software-defined environment is that IT administrators can define what resources a specific workload requires, including: processing power, processor type, memory capacity, OS, application frameworks, storage performance, storage capacity, network performance and network capacity. This doesn't mean that all those resource requirements are automatically reserved and later provisioned and put to work. Tools, such as those offered by suppliers such as StrataCloud and Cirba, are needed to manage placement of those workloads in the environment.

The goal is to make it quickly and easily possible to tell the management system what resources are needed for the workloads, whether it's an entire physical system, a cluster of systems, a virtual system or even a container/logical partition/virtual partition.

The management system then looks at the requirements of currently registered workloads and "fits in" the new workload resource requirements. When it's time, those resources are allocated, provisioned and the workload initiated. Later, when that workload finishes its task, the requested resources are made available for other tasks. The idea is that the enterprise is in a position to purchase and use only the resources needed to address its current workloads and those planned for the future.

When, or if, the enterprise tries to reserve nonexistent resources, the admins are immediately notified, and the needed resources can be purchased and installed to satisfy that need.

The hope, StrataCloud points out, is that an organization never finds itself surprised by a situation where the work to be done exceeds the capabilities of the available resources.

As enterprises move into a software-defined world, tools such as those offered by StrataCloud should be considered essential.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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