Cloud // Infrastructure as a Service
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9/29/2011
03:28 PM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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Data Center Chains In Cloud Promise Easier Moves

Transferring applications and data from one data center to another will soon become a service, not a monumental chore.

How does the Amsterdam network access point change the picture for Terremark's other data centers around Europe, where it already has a strong presence? It brings London, Frankfurt, and Madrid closer to many other parts of the world.

Amsterdam is directly connected to Terremark's Network Access Point of the Americas, a huge, 750,000 square-foot facility in downtown Miami. So much network traffic converges on the network loops that circle the downtown that Miami is one of the five best interconnected cities in the world, Terremark says on its Web site. It's a gateway to other points in the U.S.; from NAP of the Americas, you are one router hop from Bogota, Columbia, or in two hops from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"Amsterdam to Miami is one hop at two-thirds the speed of light over fiber cable. So Terremark customers in London, Madrid, Paris and Frankfurt are all linked now, just two hops apart through Amsterdam. They're just 3 hops away from Bogota," says Stewart.

Global companies, such as InterContinental Hotels, are looking to decentralize their mainframe applications and make them available to serve customers in many different locations. Bryson Koehler, senior VP of revenue and guest information, knows that if InterContinental's booking and customer relationship systems can be distributed, service to customers will seem instantaneous and give his firm a competitive edge. He literally wants the customer to be able to check into his room from a smart phone while riding in the taxi from the airport. To do that, he must find a way to offer distributed services. He's working on it, but not ready to distribute.

Running coordinated systems in a distributed fashion is difficult to do today, but infrastructure as a service in the form of interconnected data centers could make it a check box option. Having established a workload in the cloud, just check off where else you would like to have it run, and indicate which one is to serve as the primary copy.

Daisy-chained data centers in the cloud will one day host carbon copies of key enterprise applications. In some competitive situations, including the hotel business, distributed applications will make a competitive difference.

Verizon-Terremark is my primary example in part because, in addition to the 49 data centers that make up the Terremark unit's infrastructure as a service, Verizon also operates 200 telecommunications data centers that handle billing and customer service for its phone service customers. A telecom data center isn't much different from a cloud data center. In the future, it's possible Verizon or other telecoms will reserve space in their existing data centers to give their data center chain more locations for distributed systems.

CenturyLink-Savvis is another IaaS and telecom supplier and that combination has 50 data centers around the world, another example of interlinked data centers with access to key network junctions and exchanges. Amazon builds its data centers at prime network junctions as well, but at this point, it's still up to the customer to navigate between one center and another.

In the future, no cloud data center will be an island. No tsunami, hurricane, or earthquake will be able to take down your systems, just because the primary data center in which they were located lost its power or had its operations disrupted.

Both virtualized systems and cloud workloads can migrate quickly to a new location. A running virtual machine can transfer to a new home in milliseconds; given a few seconds warning, it can migrate with no data lost. Virtualized systems running inside a data center that is part of a chain in the cloud may prove to be a much more durable and available system than some of its predecessor high availability designs.

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