State Street had virtualized about 65% of its environment even before the private cloud project, but virtualization alone won't create what Perretta considers to be a cloud. New tools for provisioning, change control, load balancing, a common security framework and various types of instrumentation to enable multi-tenant infrastructures are all part of the mix, he says. "Running on a very lean technology stack," State Street can deploy new applications in five minutes, he says.
State Street partitioned off part of its data center for "massive racks of commodity servers" that can be treated as a single entity, providing cloud services and virtual desktops.
State Street runs hundreds of applications across pretty much every major type of server: mainframes, Windows Server, Unix and Linux. For its first cloud project, State Street is moving numerous workloads from high-end Unix servers to Linux. Although State Street is a VMware customer, Perretta says the company is emphasizing open source virtualization tools for this project. "We are as open as we can go," he says.
The first production applications -- targeted at State Street's external customers -- will be running on the Linux-based cloud this summer, he said. While Linux is the initial focus, State Street's cloud project won't be devoted entirely to open source. "Over time, we'll have a .NET cloud," Perretta said.
In financial services, providing real-time access to data is crucial. Toward that end, State Street is also looking at whether to adopt any of the new data warehousing appliances from Oracle, IBM's Netezza and Teradata.
"Some of the real business and operational savings comes from rationalization of data structures and data definitions," Perretta says. "We think that's very important. But it doesn't happen overnight."
Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.