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    Applications

    Applications in the virtualized IT data center are built as Virtual Machines (VMs) and are hosted on servers, or physical compute resources that reside on the blade server. This design for applications meets the requirements of this solution for business-critical applications and high performance.

    The MetaFabric 1.0 solution supports a complete software stack that covers four major application categories: compute management, network management, network services, and business-critical applications (Figure 1). These applications run on top of IBM servers and VMware vSphere 5.1.

    Figure 1: Virtualized IT Data Center Solution Software Stack

    Virtualized IT Data Center Solution
Software Stack

    Compute Management

    VMware vCenter is a virtualization management platform that offers centralized control and visibility into compute, storage, and networking resources. Data center operators use the de facto, industry-standard vCenter on a daily basis to manage and provision VMs. VMware vCloud Director allows the data center manager to create an in-house cloud service and partition the virtualization environment into segments that can be administered by separate business units or administrative entities. The pool of resources can now be partitioned into virtual data centers which can offer their own independent virtualization services. Use of vCenter and vCloud Director offers the first element of software application support for the MetaFabric 1.0 solution.

    Network Management

    The MetaFabric 1.0 solution uses Junos Space Management Applications to provide network provisioning, orchestration, and inventory management. The applications include Network Director for management of wired and wireless data center networks, and Security Director for security policy administration.

    Network Services

    Network load balancing is a common network service. There are two methods to provide network load balancing: virtual and hardware-based. The virtual load balancer operates in the hypervisor as a VM. One of the benefits of a virtual load balancer is rapid provisioning of additional load-balancing power. Another benefit is that the administration of the virtual load balancer can be delegated to another administrative entity without impacting other applications and traffic.

    However the drawback to a virtual load balancer is that the performance is limited to the number of compute resources that are available. Hardware load balancers offer much more performance in traffic throughput and SSL encryption and decryption with dedicated security hardware.

    The MetaFabric 1.0 solution uses the local traffic manager (LTM) from F5 Networks.

    The load balancers provide the following services:

    • Advertise the existence of the application
    • Distribute the traffic across a set of servers.
    • Leverage features such as SSL acceleration and compression.
    • Provide additional Layer 7 features.

    Business-Critical Applications

    Software applications are made of multiple server tiers; the most common are Web, application, and database servers. Each server has its own discrete set of responsibilities. The Web tier handles the interaction with the users and the application. The application tier handles all of the application logic and programming. The database tier handles all of the data storage and application inventory.

    The following software applications were tested as part of the MetaFabric 1.0 solution:

    • Microsoft SharePoint

      The SharePoint application requires three tiers: Web, application, and database. The Web tier uses Microsoft IIS to handle Web tracking and interaction with end users. The application tier uses Microsoft SharePoint and Active Directory to provide the file sharing and content management software. Finally, the database tier uses Microsoft SQL Server to store and organize the application data.

    • Microsoft Exchange

      The Exchange application requires two tiers: a Web tier, and a second tier that combines the application and the database into a single tier.

    • MediaWiki Application

      The MediaWiki application requires two tiers: a combined Web and application tier, and a database tier. Apache httpd is combined with the hypertext preprocessor (PHP) to render and present the application, while the data is stored on the database tier with MySQL.

    Published: 2015-04-20