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Automation of Virtualized Data Centers

Virtualization has been applied in many technical and non-technical process for a long time.This post deals with the most recent development of- virtualized data centers and their automation.

Why automate data centers?

With increasing number of virtualized servers, storage and computing resources, management of the resources poses a difficult task for IT organizations.
Another key reason for the evolution of this technology is cloud computing. The dynamic nature of cloud computing has pushed data center workload, and storage to seek for greener pastures. Consumers and providers of data have increased in disproportionate amounts today. From industries to smart phone users to interconnected devices to futuristic marketing enthusiasts, data is churned by the second. The rapidly increasing data collection companies expect data center providers to be able to scale accordingly, to evade redundancy and inefficiency.
Data center automation can provide systematic policies which are pre-defined to automatically facilitate and filter out unnecessary data. Automating data proves time saving for the overloaded IT staff by monitoring and managing virtualized and regular infrastructure thus reducing costs.

Components of automated data centers

Typical high availability architecture includes application servers with apps replicated multiple times. The applications in this scenario are virtualized in every application delivery controller. This architecture supports high availability and performance necessities. However, high efficiency may not be supported in this model, as the resources provisioned for each app is not efficiently reallocated to the other apps.
An automation architecture based on server virtualization requires images to be created and software to be installed in each physical server in order to support automated provisioning of applications through VM images. Additional storage in case of server virtualization or OS virtualization incurs additional costs. While server virtualization deploys applications across all usable resources, OS virtualization stores them locally. In case of OS virtualization, however, not only is the application stored, but the application server and the virtual image are also stored.
In order to reduce the impact on either of these methodologies, storage virtualization can be used. Storage virtualization is the concept of amalgamating multiple storage networks into a single storage unit. Usually, the storage unit is managed and utilized with the help of software, making the storage software-defined. Virtualization obfuscates the storage systems used, making any kind of storage network be part of the virtualized environment. Storage virtualization makes such tasks as backup, archiving, and recovery easier and faster.
Since virtualized storage can be shared across all physical as well as virtual servers, it reduces the impact on server virtualization. All kinds of files can be stored in one place and be accessed by applications with the help of a proper storage virtualization solution. Obviation of physical installation of applications makes the creation and deployment of virtual images quite simpler in the case of storage virtualization.

Automated data centers should be mandate, not just a requirement

Automation is drastically changing the IT scene. Almost 40% of technology professionals recently surveyed claim to employ automation services in some or the other capacity. This includes automating data centers. Automation of virtual data centers provide numerous benefits.
Unavoidable repetitive tasks are a cause for many errors in a traditional environment. This can be wiped out with the implementation of automation. Automation also frees up critical time of IT team and lets them invest time in more value adding tasks. This leads to a responsive business, thus accelerating time-to-market for IT services. Virtualized data centers reduce configuration issues by maintaining consistent systems across the data center. Like most automated processes, it minimizes risk.

Rini Dantes

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