What areas should we focus on when building a cloud data center?

Building a cloud data center requires a lot of planning, and certain areas will receive more attention than others, says managed services expert Lauren Robinette.

When building a cloud data center it is important to give certain topics special attention. Specifically, what areas should we be sure not to skimp on?

Whether you are purchasing your own infrastructure from selected vendors or partnering with another provider, it is important to verify that you have chosen an architecture or service-level agreement (SLA) that provides the Quality of Service (QoS), cloud-bursting capabilities, portal provisioning and overall flexibility necessary to build cloud services.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) clarifies some of the defining features of a cloud service -- ultimately guaranteeing your underlying data center infrastructure will meet most customer requirements.

According to NIST, cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (networks, servers, storage, applications and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management or service provider interaction. This model promotes availability and is composed of five essential characteristics: on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity and measured service. Key enabling technologies include fast networks -- inside and outside the data center -- as well as powerful, inexpensive servers and high-performance virtualization platforms.

Because the cloud data center acts as the "house" that supports the three major pillars of cloud services -- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS) -- it is vital to understand how the data center fulfills customer requirements when defining requests for proposal (RFPs) for potential vendors and partners.

Have a question for Lauren Robinette? Send an email to [email protected]

This was last published in May 2012

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