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Managing Multi-Platform Clouds

Multi-Platform Cloud Software (MPCS) is a way for allowing the delivery of customized and scalable cloud services while deploying multi-vendor cloud technologies. It provides a solution for accessing a multiplicity of private and public cloud services simultaneously. It combines automated cloud services under unified governance and control for both virtual and physical servers and desktops. It applies to both private and public clouds. It unifies enterprise-wide policies while monitoring the costs of applications as seen from the user standpoint.

In order to make diverse cloud systems scale up to the enterprise level in large organizations, this issue must be first approached at the organizational level and only then worked down to individual clouds. DoD must be able to map the local cloud solutions before it would be in a position to address user-specific cloud services. This makes it necessary for DoD to set up a DoD-level software layer that enables aggregating already installed clouds into a capability that permits enterprise-level sharing of computing services.

MPCS software creates controls that define who can gain access to any local cloud. Central DoD management will then know where are all of the resources. It will have the knowledge what are the process for obtaining services from any component that is located anywhere. MPCS can offer the following:

1. Reservations. A cloud administrator can group computing resources (storage, network and compute) for management of from consoles at network control centers. The Reservation process then defines how DoD resources are organized, inclusive of the identification of costs.
2. Blueprints. Defines the computing environment such as security limitations, approval policies, cost profiles, service tiers, machine templates, SLAs, toolsets and methods (e.g. as offered by Amazon, Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and others) that users may be able to apply for access to their specific cloud.
3. Business-Aware Services.  MPCS will then have all of the information needed for extracting information from any designated cloud.
4. Personalization. Although the enterprise-level Blueprint contains everything needed to use data from a business unit that is insufficient. DoD will also need meta-data to describe the contents of all files. This would allow an enterprise administrator to give permissions for access to all information and thus make it possible to view DoD as a fully interoperable system from a user’s point of view.

Multi-Platform Cloud Software reflects a realization that it will never be a uniform hypervisor that will manage enterprise data centers. What is needed is software that can manage VMware ESX, Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix, and Oracle Xen-based hypervisors and Amazon Web Services' proprietary version of Xen, Amazon Machine Images.

With MPCS it will be possible to manage every suppliers' virtual machines as well, adding them to the on-premises, private cloud and extending its reach to workloads in the public cloud as well. This approach ultimately leads to a software-defined data center, where virtual machines are created and moved around as needed for most efficient operation. Instead of just managing virtual machines created under one hypervisor, it will be able to add other major hypervisors as well.

MPCS also fits the concept of central console for the software-defined data center, which brings configuration, performance management, and capacity management to virtual machine operations. The ability to collect information about each virtual machine as it is formed and to understand what share of a given task that virtual machine can perform, MPCS provides information to a system-of-systems that manages a variety of clouds at the same time.

The software vendor that knows how to use information derived from the configuration of different brands of virtual machines--and can manage their performance through MPCS--has gained the capability of becoming the dominant provider software-defined data centers. When capacity is needed anywhere in a diverse organization, it will be able to spin up additional virtual machines wherever they can be added seamlessly to the cluster, according to preset policies. When traffic wanes, MPCs will decommission virtual machines and consolidate those remaining on fewer physical hosts, according to preset policies.

While different clouds have different self-provisioning procedures, MPCS can pull it all together into a single cloud storefront across heterogeneous infrastructure pools for a giant organization such as DoD.

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