Monday, July 12, 2021

Remote server management - Common architectural elements

remote server management
Part 2 - Common architectural elements
In our previous article from this series we introduced a use case around remote server management for retail stores.

The process was laid out how we've approached the use case and how portfolio solutions are the base for researching a generic architecture. 

The only thing left to cover was the order in which you'll be led through the details.

This article starts the real journey at the very top, with a generic architecture from which we'll discuss the common architectural elements one by one.

This will start our journey into the logical elements that make up the cloud adoption architecture.

Architecture review

As mentioned before, the architectural details covered here are base on real solutions using open source technologies. The example scenario presented here is a generic common architecture that was uncovered researching those solutions. It's our intent to provide guidance and not deep technical details.

This section covers the visual representations as presented, but it's expected that they'll be evolving based on future research. There are many ways to represent each element in this architecture, but we've chosen a format that we hope makes it easy to absorb. Feel free to post comments at the bottom of this post, or contact us directly with your feedback.

From specific to generic

Before diving in to the common elements, it might be nice to understand that this is not a catch all for every possible solution. It's a collection of identified elements that we've uncovered in multiple customer implementations. These elements presented here are then the generic common architectural elements that we've identified and collected in to the generic architecture. 

It's our intent to provide an example for guidance and not deep technical details. You're smart enough to figure out wiring integration points in your own architectures. You're capable of slotting in the technologies and components you've committed to in the past where applicable.  It's our job here to describe the architecture generic components and outline a few specific cases with visual diagrams so that you're able to make the right decisions from the start of your own projects.

Another challenge has been how to visually represent the architecture. There are many ways to represent each element, but we've chosen some icons, text and colours that we hope are going to make it all easy to absorb.

remote server management
Now let's take a quick tour of the generic architecture and outline the common elements uncovered in my research.

Core data center

The logical view splits this solution space into several identifiable collections where the cloud adoption solution is laid out. These logical collections ensure that your organisation can provide effective automation to provide consistency, security, and full lifecycle management across a diverse hybrid cloud architecture.

The first collection on the left is tagged as the core data center and holds all the logical elements needed to put together the images for your infrastructure and workloads to run on. You find a source code management (SCM) system, an image store, and the server image build pipeline. All elements used by an organisation to create, manage, store, and testing images for distribution.

Infrastructure management

The infrastructure management collection is where intelligence is gathered, monitoring is performed, and based on the findings, triggers automated reactions and orchestrates updates to your infrastructure anywhere in your organisation.

remote server management
smart management element is used for tracking, managing, auditing, and collecting data on your entire infrastructure to ensure that baselines are met. Based on your choices and the results of data collected, your insights trigger corrections, updates, or even rolling out of new infrastructure across any of the cloud infrastructure your organisation might be using.

The automation orchestration element is tasked with orchestration of infrastructure tasks in a fully automated and pre-tested fashion. This element is directed to execute certain tasks in a certain order based on the findings of the smart management element.

Hybrid cloud infrastructure

This collection of elements are all aspects of an organisations hybrid cloud infrastructure. The idea is that organisations are attempting to provide a consistent experience for maintaining, deploying, and managing their applications and servers across the entire architectural landscape. 

To provide a consistent experience, existing physical data center resources might be the starting point to be offered to the organisation with a cloud-like experience. Once this is completed, the organisation then has a private cloud to build, test, and run its workloads on. 

remote server management
The next step leads organisations to expanding services and applications out into one or more of the public cloud providers. The final destination include here is edge / remote, where edge device images and applications are being deployed, supported, and managed. 

All of these are shown here as a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) host element with an image registry to facilitate the deployment of infrastructure, services, and applications across the entire hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Cloud services

Last but not least, there is a need for cloud services that can facilitate all it takes to span the monitoring, analysing, and deployment of an organisations workloads across their hybrid cloud infrastructure.

The first element is that of enterprise operating automation which facilitates consistent, repeatable, and tested infrastructure automation tasks as needed by the other elements managing the hybrid cloud infrastructure

Next, there is the insights platform. This is key to monitoring and data collection around the entire hybrid cloud infrastructure. Based on this data and working together with insights services, automated actions can take place around updates, security patches, infrastructure rollouts, workload management, and workload migrations. This is the key to an organisations ability to successfully adopt a truly hybrid cloud infrastructure.
remote server management

What's next

This was just a short overview of the common generic elements that make up our architecture for a remote server management use case. 

An overview of this series on remote server management portfolio architecture:
  1. An architectural introduction
  2. Common architectural elements
  3. Example remote architecture
Catch up on any past articles you missed by following any published links above.

Next in this series, taking a look at an example remote architecture.

(Article co-authored by Iain Boyle, Chief Architect Retail, Red Hat)