CXO

Deployment to the cloud: Logical servers and compliance agents

Cloud-based technologies can be a great solution for lowering costs and increasing elastic capacity, but not for every situation. In this TechRepublic post, IT guru Rick Vanover introduces the concept of logical servers.

Getting started with cloud technologies is no easy task. Traditional IT infrastructures of all sizes, "brick-and-mortar IT" if you will, are challenged to decide what can go to a cloud. FastScale Technology today released FastScale Composer Suite Enterprise Edition 3.0 for cloud technology deployment. FastScale Composer Suite is a tool that creates logical servers to help organizations abstract clouds. This is because a cloud can be used internally with a technology like VMware's vSphere or externally with Amazon Web Services.

FastScale Composer Suite does a brilliant job in helping IT professionals rationalize this important distinction. Speaking recently with FastScale, vice president Jerry McLeod says, "Separate what you want to build from where you want to build it." Simply put, that makes a logical server the transportable object to go to a cloud solution. I really like that explanation, as the application and functionality are what we are focused on.

The Composer Suite product does one better than most solutions out there in that a "just enough operating system," or JeOS (pronounced juice), is used to deploy logical servers to the cloud. A JeOS build removes all the unnecessary components of a logical server to allow it to function only as required. This comes into play for an upcoming feature with the product. Though not yet available, FastScale is working diligently with compliance-software companies to bundle agents with the logical servers to go to the cloud.

The compliance agents will score a logical server's classification for regulatory compliance such as PCI, HIPAA, or COBIT. The compliance metric or score is calculated for the logical servers. Using JeOS architecture will aid greatly, as many unnecessary elements of the original operating system are not inherited to the logical server. Figure A shows a logical server being provisioned and the associated options selected. Figure A

Click to enlarge figure.

Logical servers with Composer Suite can be built in Linux and Windows. The current Windows support is for Windows Server 2003 logical servers, with Windows Server 2008 support forthcoming.

Overall, a tool such as Composer Suite makes cloud provisioning easier for organizations to work with a proof of concept or migration. I'll be sure to follow up here on the forthcoming compliance agent that will be bundled into the cloud-hosted logical servers.

About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

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