I recently got a chance to work on RightScale for a proof-of-concept and I must say that they have an impressive technical architecture that reflects some of design and deployment best practices of the Cloud. I want to provide a business overview of this platform through this article.
Compared to traditional IT, Cloud does offer many benefits in the form of self-service, on-demand, elastic, and pay-as-you-go models. For example, going live with a line of business application on physical infrastructure might take anywhere between 6 to 8 weeks and by leveraging the Cloud, this can be reduced to a couple of hours! Many enterprises are seriously considering the switch to the Cloud. This includes both Private and Public Clouds. But as the investment increases in the Cloud, so is the complexity and the management overhead. IT departments need to manage disparate Cloud environments that run within and outside of their enterprise. Just on the Public Cloud, there are many challenges in dealing with multiple isolated and independent Clouds. For example, a multi-national company with global presence might want to leverage Amazon Web Services for deploying some of their business applications. The same application needs to be available across multiple continents and geographies. Even though it is a homogenous Cloud from Amazon Web Services, every Region is considered to be an independent and an isolated Cloud. Replicating the configuration and the topology of an application across multiple regions is extremely complex and expensive. An AMI that is chosen at one AWS Region may or may not be available in other AWS Regions. So, a lot of work goes into mapping the infrastructure architecture across multiple regions. Now, imagine managing the application that is deployed across multiple regions. Upgrading, patching and maintaining the application becomes extremely complex. On top of this, the enterprise IT team needs to manage a completely different environment that runs their Private Cloud. This could be running on Eucalyptus, OpenStack or CloudStack. These heterogeneous environments force the IT team to deal with proprietary APIs, tools and interfaces that reduce the efficiency. The administrators will end up writing a completely different toolset to manage Private Cloud and Public Cloud. And finally, when it comes to moving from one Cloud service provider to another, it just becomes a nightmare!