In the last three postings, we learned about the current situation and future of cloud computing, private clouds, and VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). Today we will talk about OpenStack, a platform that helps you run and manage your cloud environment, which is one of the LG CNS Smart Cloud Block components. We will also see what other cloud management tools are available and how they are being applied.
As mentioned in the earlier postings, many companies are already planning to adopt cloud environments. How far have they gone, though?
Forest Research, an American research company, mentioned that 85% of all companies that answered their survey in 2012 said they were planning to create cloud strategies and service models within a year. According to a follow-up survey a year later, however, only 20% of them had actually gone through with the plan.
The result shows that although companies are migrating to clouds as one of the primary tasks, many of them have a hard time actually executing this. It is true that having the existing service migrate to a cloud or managing it is harder than establishing a new cloud system, with the Legacy environment, administrators’ skill set, and the tools they currently have.
What are the operational and management components and tools companies need to adapt to the cloud environment, then? Let’s take a closer look.
Current cloud users demand their architecture as a package. What they want is a service template which includes a network independent from the basic computing instances (VM: Virtual Machine), virtual infrastructure (IaaS) such as designated storage space, and components for applications (Web, WAS, DB, etc.).
In order to implement this service template, the software which distributes and constructs a cloud platform and service components that provide virtual infrastructure as a service are required. LG CNS adopted OpenStack in 2012 as a cloud platform and began its public cloud service in 2013. It has also developed and applied Chef as its open-source distribution framework to provide the service.
- Cloud platform OpenStack
OpenStack is one of the most highly recognized open-source software projects since Linux. 134 countries around the world (as of 2014) and top global vendors (IBM, HP, CISCO, EMC, Redhat, etc.) are involved as members.
OpenStock supports various hyper-visors and storage vendors under a motto of compatibility and extendibility. It is a base platform for Restful API which supports AWS (Amazon Web Service) and SDDC (Software Defined Data Center) with the architecture that can extend all hardware horizontally.
Based on its accumulated infrastructure and operational experience and OpenStack Source analytics, LG CNS has developed and is utilizing functions that aren’t available with OpenStack. They also provide better services through functional limits and bug recognition and source modification.
With their experience establishing the OpenStack private architecture for enterprises, they also built the private cloud for Enuri.com (online price comparison site) in 2015. It is now being used for their B2C (Business to Consumer) service.
- Distribution tool Chef
Chef, the distribution tool, is the framework used to automate the infrastructure. Because it codifies the entire system for distribution, it is easier to run, maintain, extend, and copy the system.
As you see in the chart above, it is necessary to provision virtual servers, install/set the software required for each server, and integrate configurations among servers in order to create a service. This is what Chef defines as Cookbook. It saves the Cookbook to the Chef server, summons it whenever needed to distribute and automatically configure, then deliver the service.
In addition, Chef operates separate from the platform, and this is why it’s possible to effectively establish/operate a cloud platform even when using physical infrastructure instead of virtual infrastructure.
Chef in the Cloud Environment, Service template, Template, Repository, Software distribution/configuration/integration, Virtual server, Virtual network, Virtual Storage, Provisioning, Automated platform installation
In 2014, LG CNS adopted the open-source tool Chef for the system management launched in January of 2009, and has used it since then. Thanks to such change, they could avoid the effort of establishing a new service up to 82% compared to in the past.
Due to the hardware’s upward standardization, x86 Servers are leading the current server market. X86 Server not only has higher processing service through its performance upgrade, but it also comes at a lower cost compared to a UNIX server.
Besides, the open source is expanding its territory from OS and applications toward networking and storage in the software market based on its aim for open standards independent from OS, applications, and vendors. It is, therefore, essential to use U2L (UNIX to Linux) and OSS (Open Source Software) in order to migrate to a cloud environment.
If you are using an old UNIX based web system that costs a lot, you can create a low-cost and high-efficiency operational environment by changing it to an open-source standard technology based system using the x86 server and OSS.
LG CNS recently applied U2L and OSS to an internet shopping mall to lower the budget for a system extension and to take care of service delays caused by business expansion. Their solution was as followed.
- Establishing x86 based virtual servers and a cost-effective system using OSS
- Step by step changeover to resolve clients concerns toward OSS
- Additional solutions to complement the lacking functions of OSS
- Removing SPoF (Single Point of Failure) through the service with scale-out structure
With these, they succeeded in going further than changing the system for a small-scale non-critical service to applying U2L and OSS to a large enterprise environment for stable operation.
Everyone must admit that monitoring is one of the most crucial parts of operational management. In a cloud environment, it’s especially important to try multiple approaches differing from the general Legacy environment which focuses performance on certain components.
This is because management through monitoring is a necessity for multiple factors including the physical hardware as well as hypervisor for virtualization, virtual servers, middleware, and database being run on top of it. This is another reason why a reasonable cloud monitoring tool is required, suited for the OSS based low-cost and high-efficiency service environment.
LG CNS is providing an integrated monitoring solution called TunA (Tuning Assistant) and an integrated log management solution Loghouse they have developed. In the next posting, we will take a look at the tools from LG CNS for cloud management as well as their applications.
Written by Palsoo Kim, Senior manager at the Infrastructure Solution Team
 Provisioning: IT infra resource user or the right allocation, arrangement and distribution of the business’ requirement which makes the system possible to use. [back to the article]