Is it important to be able to automatically provision new servers with your cloud provider?

The CTO of Town and Country, Mo.-based cloud hosting provider Savvis Bryan Doerr talks about how automation can play a critical role in how secure a cloud can be. "We can automatically provision stuff quickly, but what we can't do is make decisions quickly. How long it will take me to add capacity to this app? How long to recognize a failure and respond? Now that we have all this infrastructure virtualized, and automated these changes, we need to automate the decision making too. We need to close the loop from sense to decision. Virtualization has freed us from manually patching cables and setting up racks of equipment. We have to make these decisions in advance, define them in terms of policy, and then express those in terms of guides for our provisioning systems. The trick is to figure out how to help customers get down the road." Products such as Racemi's DynaCenter and Novell's Platespin are just two of the many automation tools available for these sorts of tasks.

Karen Rhodes, a senior sales engineer of Layered Technologies in Plano, Tex., says, "PlateSpin can be used to migrate any physical server to a variety of virtual environments including ESX, Xen Center, Sun and HyperV. You don't have to tie yourself to any one particular vendor and it is very robust and mature technology." Many of these technologies can also be used to convert virtual machines into physical ones, which are useful for debugging operating system issues.

Novell's Platespin series of tools can orchestrate bringing up new VM instances when workloads change.

ITworld contributor, David Strom, provided the response to this question.

This is an excerpt from the article 12 questions to ask your next cloud computing.

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