Tier-1 applications require infrastructure that is tuned for specific requirements. That has traditionally led IT staffs to create isolated silos of resources for these applications. IT now can choose among several paths to eliminate the silos for specific applications. With vSphere 5, server virtualization removed the technical barriers for mission-critical applications.
On the December 18, 2012 Peer Incite, the Wikibon community spoke with ViaWest, a cloud service provider that can support the rigorous demands of tier 1 applications. Unlike most cloud services, which offer one infrastructure to a relatively homogenous customer base, ViaWest provides guaranteed quality-of-service (QoS).
ViaWest Director of Cloud Infrastructure Matt Wallace points out that the network can easily become the choke point of an architecture. His current design uses Cisco UCS, which provides a convergence of compute and network, along with all-flash SolidFire storage arrays. Matt’s POD design scales up to 1 million IOPS, which drives 32Gb/sec. Each POD is an independent failure zone that doesn’t rely on other equipment.
ViaWest finds that its high-performance 10Gb Ethernet solution is a competitive advantage compared to market-leading Amazon Web Services (AWS). The AWS customer network is 1Gb and customers cannot specify a high-performance option. Matt sees a continued large opportunity to expand cloud services to 40Gb and 100Gb Ethernet options. As discussed in Wikibon’s Converged Infrastructure Moves from Infant to Adolescent, flash offerings are still working their way into different aspects of the stack, and none currently offer the QoS capability found with SolidFire.
Action Item: By their very definition, Tier-1 applications are critical to the operations of a business, so CIOs must be careful as to how they are deployed and supported. Companies can now start moving away from custom deployments of infrastructure and move Tier-1 deployments into server virtualization solutions or to cloud services such as those offered by ViaWest.