“Single Pane of Glass” Provisioning in the Cloud is a powerful thing

April 25, 2010

The following is an extract from a Microsoft case study on American Cloud Service Provider NGenX and their use of the Cortex Cloud Control Panel and Microsoft virtualization.

To me, it shows what a powerful concept the “Single Pane of Glass” is when it comes to provisioning and managing services in the Cloud. The need for a portal to control all hosted services can even help drive underlying technology choices at the Service Provider.

For the full case study refer to www.microsoft.com

“The VMware environment allowed us to virtualize a good percentage of our infrastructure that we used for hosted application services to our customers,” says Spindt. “However, the VMware platform required a lot of manual intervention for us to provision servers internally, and it didn’t provide nGenX with any means of exposing to our customers any control over their systems.”

To make up for the shortcoming in regard to self-serve capability, nGenX deployed a provisioning solution from Microsoft Gold Certified Partner EMS-Cortex. The IT staff at nGenX uses it to provision servers, and nGenX customers use it as an interface to administer many of their virtualized workloads. “The provisioning solution from EMS-Cortex is key to our vision around cloud computing,” says Robert A. Bye, Executive Vice President and General Manager at nGenX. “We’d seen how the EMS-Cortex control panel benefitted our Exchange and data backup customers, and we thought it would work for building out our concept of cloud computing.”

nGenX envisioned a single console from EMS-Cortex that its customers could use to manage virtual and physical servers, applications, and other resources such as storage and network resources. “However, VMware did not interoperate well enough with the EMS-Cortex solution for us to get more heavily engaged in a cloud computing environment,” says Spindt. “There was also the cost factor. We needed to determine whether we should stay with VMware or find an alternative, more cost-effective virtualization platform that would integrate better with EMS-Cortex.”

Solution

To meet its goals, nGenX chose to use Microsoft virtualization technologies to support its new cloud computing service offerings, called Guardian Cloud, with EMS-Cortex technologies as the core of its Guardian Control Panel for automation and provisioning. The company is leaving its existing VMware solution in place for internal purposes.

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