Why the future of cloud lies in autonomics

If you’ve been following global trends in cloud technology development, you must have noticed that cloud computing provided us with a host of great innovations – for instance, consumption-based pricing or easy access to global computing resources.

But they all came at a certain price: complexity. Anyone who manages a cloud infrastructure today will agree that doing the same for traditional data centres is way easier. What could potentially help us in managing the increasingly complex cloud environments of the future? Experts claims that it could be automatic computing.

Why have cloud infrastructures become so complex?

There are many factors which account for the current complexity of cloud environments. All these amazing innovations unveiled a need for deeper management – take consumption-based pricing, for instance. It allows us to pay for exclusively what we use, but for doing that it requires constant monitoring and continual optimisation to avoid poor cost management and reduce resource waste.

Cloud is under constant innovation in private, public and hybrid sectors

Cloud is under constant innovation in private, public and hybrid sectors. Add to it the growing importance of multicloud sectors, and you got yourself a pretty complex environment to manage.

Perhaps cloud innovation has gotten out of hand and we’re unable to come up with effective ways to manage these newly-acquired infrastructures. We definitely need a new approach for supporting cloud environments and one of the candidates is autonomic computation.

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What is autonomic computation?

At the beginning of this century, IBM released a kind of manifesto which predicted the future software complexity crisis as a result of our inability to cope with the rapid growth of information technology, communication and computation.

The manifesto proposed a public debate about autonomic computation as a potential solution. Autonomic computing refers to self-managing systems which can optimise, configure, protect and heal themselves without the necessity of human intervention.

How come we’ve heard so little about autonomic computing? 

When IBM issued their vision of the impending problem of software complexity management, the danger didn’t seem real. The paper spawned a field of research which is still active, but its impact in the industry was highly limited – mostly because that gap between complexity of software and our ability to manage it hasn’t become a serious factor regulating economic growth. Until the widespread adoption of cloud technologies.

Why autonomic computing in cloud?

Cloud autonomics would enable companies to make the most from cloud computing by automating its management with a set of business policies. Organisations wouldn’t need to lose resources to optimise security, usage and cost of cloud infrastructures – it will all be done automatically in accordance with business policies which define every aspect of management.

This kind of automation is called policy-automation. An organisation would have to configure an autonomic system with the right governance rules and then rely on this system to monitor the cloud infrastructure, applying necessary changes to bring it back in line with the policy.

Benefits of cloud autonomics

It should be clear by now that cloud autonomics offer many benefits to companies which decide to deploy such systems to manage their cloud environments. Here are the most important advantages brought by autonomic computing for cloud infrastructures.

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  • Usage – companies will be able to schedule the automated shutdown of idle or long-running infrastructures in support of their business policies (for instance, stating that idle development infrastructures running more than a week must be shut down).
  • Availability – business service level agreements (SLAs) can be supported by the automated migration of data to another region. Such an automated migration can be used for backup of storage from one medium to another.
  • Cost – companies will use cloud autonomics for automated purchase of reserved capacity in accordance with organisational or functional needs. Another benefit could be the automated movement of a workload from one cloud provider to another in search for cost efficiencies.
  • Performance – organisations can use cloud autonomics for the automated increase of the machine type for a workload, employed to support the operation of non-horizontally scaling workloads.
  • Security – companies will benefit from the system to automatically change the network or endpoint security to those which conform to established business policies.

It’s clear that cloud autonomics is something businesses should definitely get interested in. Experts agree that the future will hold challenges in cloud infrastructure management, so automating at least a part of the process through cloud autonomics might become a suitable solution for many organisations facing this problem.

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