Cloud servers are meant to provide an elastic computing solution to organizations that rapidly need to increase or decrease their resources. There are several different platforms on which cloud servers can operate but one of the most popular platforms is called OpenStack. In this article, we will demonstrate how OpenStack works to fulfill an organization’s computational goals.
Before we explain how cloud servers work, let’s talk about the overall goal of a cloud. Think about a utility company. Whenever power is needed, consumers plug into the wall socket and electricity is instantly available for an appliance. Cloud computing can be described in the same fashion. Whenever an organization needs computational or storage capacity, the cloud delivers resources that allow an enterprise to plug in and only use what they need. In the past, organizations dealt with the hassle of under provisioning or over provisioning servers to meet core objectives. This approach is cumbersome and wasteful for two reasons:
- Hardware would often sit idle because it was purchased for a specific task. Perhaps that task was only executed during business hours. During off hours, that same hardware may not be able to be utilized for other tasks.
- Traditionally scaling data center infrastructure meant that organizations had to buy additional hardware and waste hours integrating the new hardware and software configurations into the environment.
How Does the Cloud Fix This Problem?
A system like OpenStack works by sitting on top of your existing infrastructure with the goal of pooling together all of the resources you have in your data center in order to make those resources available to users on demand. OpenStack can be configured to automatically add and remove resources into a cloud based on real time use. Cloud tasks can be dynamically delegated so that core business objectives are met.
Let’s look at the cloud in a real life scenario. A website is launched using cloud services and the website is largely dormant because the advertising campaign hasn’t been set in motion yet. Once the ad campaign goes live, the website can expand automatically and OpenStack can add additional servers to handle the influx of new visitors.
In a Nutshell
This is a good representation of the cloud but the cloud is so much more than that. This model can be leveraged to meet the goals of nearly any organization. In fact, OpenStack itself was first conceived by engineers at NASA who were looking for a way to efficiently use and manage all of the organization’s computing power.
In organizations that handle large scale databases, the cloud makes perfect sense. It provides one central storage repository that is constantly being updated in real time, so that workers can add and remove records without having to rely on manually uploading the changes to a server and creating a back-up. If a database reaches its capacity, the cloud could automatically provision additional resources for the database without any human intervention needed. The cloud ensures that organizations are wisely spending their money so that they can get the most out of the infrastructure they own and lease.