by Andrew Wood, CTP, UK CUGC Leader
When I was growing up I enjoyed watching Blue Peter. There’d be a section of the programme where something would be made; from Christmas Christingles to Tracy Island. Inevitably, you would need sticky-backed tape, almost definitely a washing-up liquid bottle. Importantly, during these segments, all the components required would be at hand, you’d walk through the process and you’d always end up with a great finished piece because…here was one that was made earlier.
Whenever you watch a TV cookery programme – the chef will have all the ingredients to hand, properly measured, neatly separated. Always looks lovely at the end.
If you have to wander round the house finding all the pieces, wait for the washing up bottle to be empty, wander off to the store to buy the ingredients the project and task at hand would be longer, more cumbersome and prone to failure.
The goal of Blue Peter was to educate and inform. It is key to be able to have an environment where the process of getting the pieces you need is simple and straightforward so that you can quickly and easily deliver.
Businesses need reliable, fast and efficient delivery of services in order to be responsive to change and minimise the risk to delivery of new projects. Organisations have delivered on virtualization which can assist in driving automation – but it is rare that services rely on a single template or container for delivery.
In addition, you not only need functions to deliver that new service. You need to:-
- Monitor service health during operation, is demand high, is demand low, is demand being serviced as expected? Monitoring allows you to ensure that the right level of scale of services is available
- Scale to increase, or reduce the service capacity as required so you’re using the right level of resource; minimising cost for the business and ensuring best service for the consumers/users.
- Retire services to allow resources to be freed for new services. The ultimate scale down is removal: so how can services not only be expanded and contracted, but also removed to free resources for future projects?
Such service requirements are consistent whether you are using your on-premise environment, a cloud based infrastructure or a hybrid approach.
Many organisations have already experienced implementing virtualization in their data centers. The next goal is to extend core virtualisation capability to provide an operational model for the lifecycle of services. Every resource in that environment should be capable of being managed within that lifecycle process in order to deliver a seamless and predictable delivery for both IT and the business. Indeed, as IT data centers become increasingly defined through software, with not only applications but networking and storage being software defined, automation of services, their software configuration, networking and storage demands can all be automatically scaled. Driving down delivery times, giving value to the business.
Automate or Be Automated
The difficulty with automation is that it has always been a lot of work up front for largely unknowable returns. So, what if someone provided an always up-to-date framework to help?
More importantly, what if that automation framework not only provided you with the capability to deploy, monitor, scale and retire – but had pre-defined blueprints for complete service delivery not only for core applications, but for key service components such as storage that support that environment?
My fellow CTP Jim Moyle, and I in our roles as Solutions Architects for Atlantis Computing wondered if we could integegrate, manage and monitor products other than Citrix with such a framework.. like, for example the software-defined storage platform Atlantis USX.
Citrix LifeCycle Management
Citrix Lifecycle Management is a service available as part of Citrix Workspace Cloud, a multi-service delivery platform. Citrix Lifecycle Management is designed to allow you to deploy and manage the lifecycle of Citrix applications on hypervisors and public and private cloud platforms. Citrix Lifecycle Management is comprised of a core platform with a workflow automation engine, monitoring service, and multi-cloud broker capabilities.
Atlantis Computing USX Storage
Atlantis USX is a software-defined storage solution that provides the ability to dynamically pool any SAN, NAS, RAM or DAS storage to provide storage for your environment that has enhanced capacity and performance. Atlantis USX can be deployed in public, private or hybrid cloud environments hosted on Citrix XenServer or VMware vSphere platforms.
Defining the Goal – Through Software
Jim and I see a high value in a lifecycle service that can be readily consumed by Citrix partners and customers to deliver IT services to the business rapidly and consistently.
The Citrix LifeCycle Management product group have provided out of the box application blueprints to deliver complete Citrix Workspace Proof of Concept environments, through to extending or enhancing production environments.
We’ve worked with the LifeCycle Management platform to create blueprints of software defined storage delivery. We’ve built blueprints to allow Atlantis USX service provision regardless of the platform. In doing so, you’re not only able to define the environment but also modify the service size depending on demand. We think this demonstrates the value having partner organisations developing blueprints can provide.
We’ve worked to create Atlantis USX blueprints that allow the automation of the delivery of an Atlantis USX environment, or within an existing USX service dynamically create optimised storage volumes as new resources are required available.
We’ve got all the pieces together. As we’ll demonstrate at Synergy in our session SYN508-May 13th 2:30pm we’ll even have one(s) we’ve prepared earlier.
While we won’t promise Tracey Island, we hope that we can show how Citrix Lifecycle management can deliver on F.A.B.