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Ellen Rubin of CloudSwitch writes: Provisioning in the Cloud with Point-and-Click Simplicity Using Your Existing Data Control Centers

January 11, 2011
SYS-CON Media
by Ellen Rubin

Releasing CloudSwitch 2.0 was a great way to close out 2010 and build momentum for 2011. As part of that announcement we discussed some great new capabilities and improvements in Enterprise 2.0 that were driven by our customers’ use cases as they move to the cloud. It was no surprise to us that amongst all the great features in 2.0, the most popular by far has been our ability to provision virtual machines in the cloud.  We have heard about many cases where customers have expressed an interest in provisioning applications in the cloud just as they would in the data center using their gold images as opposed to being constrained by a cloud provider’s options, which did not always meet their specific needs.

The clear message we heard was that customers wanted to be in control of the virtual machines that were provisioned in the cloud while making sure their servers were secure and connected back to the data center to communicate with their DHCP infrastructure, DNS, identity management, etc.  They wanted the ability to create a virtual machine from scratch and provision their application stack on it by using their gold ISOs, or by booting from a PXE server. There were also a handful of customers who were interested in saving bandwidth when migrating to the cloud by creating servers directly in the cloud.

With CloudSwitch Enterprise 2.0, customers can now provision virtual machines in the cloud following the same process that they would in the data center using tools they are familiar with. Our user interface allows customers to provision in the cloud with point-and-click simplicity by configuring virtual machine parameters such as the operating system, memory, number of disks, storage controllers, network settings and boot options to provision your application stack in the cloud.                 

We have designed an intuitive, wizard-based process to provision virtual machines in the cloud. You could start off by booting a provisioned server using an ISO from CloudSwitch’s library which includes popular Linux and Windows distributions, or upload your gold image and boot from that. Other options include booting from a network source such as a PXE server, and referencing an ISO image from a HTTP server such as a mirror server.

Much like the process of provisioning virtual machines in your data center you can set your SCSI controller types for the guest operating system, and even specify the boot order for your virtual machines in the cloud. As an example, if you wanted to provision from a PXE server CloudSwitch allows you to set the boot order as CDROM followed by Hard Disk and Network so that once you have booted from the PXE server the next time the server restarts it will simply boot from the hard disk.

You can provision as many virtual machines as required, add as many NICs as necessary, generate new MAC addresses for them, and map those NICs to networks. The final step in the provisioning wizard uses our CloudFit™ function that allows customers to select any combination of a cloud provider’s instance sizes to customize the cores, memory, storage, compute capacity and region before you provision in the cloud. CloudSwitch also provides console access to the keyboard and display of your server in the cloud so you can administer systems just as you would in your data center.

All these features give you the freedom to create new virtual machines in the cloud without having to change other data center services such as DHCP, DNS, networking configurations, identity management, etc. Once you have provisioned your application stack in the cloud using CloudSwitch you can also move these workloads to the different regions and zones your cloud provider offers, across cloud providers or back to your data center without making any changes to the application or to your existing data center tools. 

It’s as simple as a few clicks in our user interface to configure your server parameters, provision as many servers as you need, use them as long as you want and then shut them down. That’s the flexibility the cloud offers, and CloudSwitch is committed to helping customers handle hybrid cloud scenarios seamlessly and securely without requiring any changes to their applications or underlying infrastructure while using their existing data center tools. Provisioning in the cloud is yet another step towards that goal so go ahead and download our enterprise trial version today to get started. We’re continuously enhancing our software to ensure everything “just works” transparently for enterprises in the cloud.

Ellen Rubin of CloudSwitch writes: Provisioning in the Cloud with Point-and-Click Simplicity Using Your Existing Data Control Centers

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