In the final part of this four-part series, we’ll tie all of the advantages of virtualization and elastic provisioning together by looking at the system architecture and supervisory controls necessary to make it all function effectively in a private cloud environment. We began this series by defining a private cloud as a pool of resources designed and developed for a specific set of purposes. Next, we looked at the advances in hardware that have made such a system viable, including AdvancedTCA and SBCs, and talked about some of the software efficiencies possible through the use of virtual machines running instances of applications within a private cloud. In Part 3, we touched on the flexibility afforded software and system designers through elastic provisioning, as well as the energy efficiencies to be gained by telecom providers who deploy these systems.
So how do we implement a solution? How do we take advantage of modern hardware capabilities, maximize the efficiency of software installations and provide flexibility for future application launches or upgrades, and save energy by running virtual machines in a private cloud? The key is the ATCA chassis, outfitted with SBCs for the compute nodes of the system, because of its manageability, commonality, and ease of deployment. Network switches with Layer 3 functionality create the backbone for a private cloud. The amount of bandwidth needed for each compute node will affect the selection of the proper AdvancedTCA switch to optimize performance, but port density can be increased easily by adding SBCs into an existing ATCA chassis.
Shared storage is also essential for a high-functioning private cloud. In order for a virtual machine to migrate or spawn to any compute node, all of the nodes must have access to the same shared storage system. This is typically achieved by a cluster file system and high-performance SAN that reside within the cloud. Many options are available to meet the SAN requirements of a carrier-grade private cloud installation, since a variety of manufacturers now make blade-based SANs and NEBS certified external SANs.
To control the array of virtual machines that will be running within the framework of a single server, an appropriate hypervisor is required. The proper selection of a hypervisor will depend on the specific requirements of the telecom provider, including cost, features, uptime, system support, and hardware supported. Some of the more popular hypervisors include Microsoft’s Hyper-V, Citrix’s XenServer, and VMWare’s ESXi.
A hypervisor manager will also be needed to supervise the individual hypervisors running on each server. This is the system that turns a series of individual servers running virtual machines into a true private cloud, allowing virtual machines to migrate across physical hardware. Often, the selection of a hypervisor will dictate the hypervisor manager selection, but there are several third-party applications that will work as well.
Finally, the physical hardware used for the private cloud must be monitored through the use of a shelf manager. This is another advantage of using ATCA infrastructure for cloud deployments, since shelf management is a required part of every ATCA installation regardless of its function.
Carefully selecting the hardware and management systems is the key to making virtualization and elastic provisioning a reality in a private cloud. With telecom providers pushing equipment manufacturers to increase capacity and features at the same time they are demanding energy efficiency and smaller equipment footprints, it only makes sense to take advantage of today’s modern advancements in hardware to maximize the utilization of existing solutions. By running virtual machines in a cloud, suppliers can simplify application development, increase flexibility, drive hardware efficiency, and provide seamless upgrades. All of these advantages make the conversion to virtualization and elastic provisioning inevitable.
Contact NEI online or by calling (877) 792-9099 to learn more about carrier-grade deployment solutions and service capabilities. Working with NEI to build your solution allows you to focus on your core competency and reduce costs.