Creating an Enterprise Cloud – The CIO’s Journey

By Brian Lillie, CIO, Equinix

Moving eEnterprise software assets to the cloud is a journey.

At Equinix, we are beginning to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud and are on what we call the Smart Development Cloud journey.

This week, I teamed up with Martin Van Ryswyk, VP of engineering at Electric Cloud, to speak at VMworld 2011, Las Vegas, on how we implemented Electric Cloud’s smart development cloud tools to tightly couple the development process to the cloud infrastructure for end-to-end automation of the build-test-deploy cycle and the utilization of cloud resources.

Development Cloud 1.0

The typical first step in an Enterprise CIO’s evolution to the cloud is to virtualize internally, which allows the IT organization “to get its hands dirty” by seeing how virtualization works and getting a first-hand look the benefits of scaling resources.

While this is an important step, the resulting virtualized environment lacks automation, which limits the ability to scale it to the needs of the business.

New environments can take weeks to build, and error-prone manual processes are not repeatable or predictable. Attempting multiple parallel projects merely increases costs and risk.

Smart Development Cloud 2.0

This is why CIOs should take the next step, which we call Smart Development Cloud 2.0, building automation into the cloud environment. This fully realized private cloud allows the software development engineers to set up and tear down virtual machines with automated processes, linking the development environment to the underlying virtualized IT infrastructure.

At Equinix, we used ElectricCommander from Electric Cloud and vCloud Director to create our Smart Development Cloud 2.0.

Automation eliminated the error-prone manual processes, connected multiple development environments, and created development workflows that enable our software developers to automatically provision resources for both development and test environments.

Today, multiple projects can share a common framework and the same private cloud infrastructure, while retaining unique processes and tool integrations. By virtualizing resources, we can scale for peak usage and efficiently run multiple tests in parallel.

Thanks to Smart Development Cloud 2.0, we have:

  • Reduced time to execute development and IT infrastructure processes from hours down to minutes
  • Reduced environment set-up time from a week to two hours
  • Reduced errors to almost zero

Our smart development cloud has also increased visibility and transparency throughout the development process, and allowed our team to better collaborate and more fully align to reach our common goals as one integrated team.

Smart Development Cloud 3.0

Once the benefits of a private Smart Development Cloud 2.0 have been validated, the CIO is now free to explore ways to use the same processes and tools to leverage an external cloud such as Amazon.

We refer to this “hybrid cloud model” as Smart Development Cloud 3.0.

In this model, the private cloud is used for primary workloads, while public clouds are used for secondary and burst workloads.

Automation is also extended to include more development processes and tools.