On Wall Street, a millisecond delay in compute time could alter the selling price of a share. This may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a huge loss when you’re transacting millions of shares. To gain maximum performance, banks run high-demand transactions on physical servers. But how do they take advantage of the financial benefits of virtualization and cloud computing?
We’re beginning to see financial institutions and other industries run different components of their ERP and CRM applications across physical, virtual and cloud environments. This way they’re assured the fastest speed and highest degree of security while leveraging the irresistible economic benefits of cloud and virtualization.
Case in point: A major banking house runs its SAP database in a physical environment, its application server on virtual servers in-house and its presentation server in a public cloud. The database is kept within the bank’s firewall, so that all of its confidential information, including customer contacts, is safeguarded. The application server doesn’t require the same performance as the database so it can be run on virtual servers. And because the presentation server contains no confidential data whatsoever, the bank can host those application components (or workloads) in the public cloud without breaching any security or regulatory guidelines.
The structure of an application like SAP lends itself to being separated out into discrete workloads. Of course this model doesn’t work for all applications, but for those that do, there are significant financial and simplicity benefits to be gained. It’s actually not a new concept. Many of us already use applications that run in separate environments. When I access iTunes, for example, the application may run on my desktop, but the iTunes store and its associated data run in the cloud.
The goal is to give organizations access to capacity across physical, virtual and cloud environments to maximum agility and financial gains. The next logical step is to make it easy to access these environments. We need management tools that can automatically apply policies that determine where each workload can run and who can interact with them. We need solutions that determine, for example, whether a new workload could safely run in a public cloud or if it needs to be maintained in-house. This needs to take place effortlessly. After all, users don’t care where an application is running, as long as it runs. Obtaining such tools will enable organizations to leverage virtual and cloud and ensure security and regulatory compliance, without creating IT headaches.
Are you running applications like SAP or PeopleSoft across physical and virtual environments? Do you see a value in doing so in your business?
Dec 09 2010, 01:48 PM