This article was first published on my Sybase blog on October 24, 2011. As part of Sybase’s integration with SAP, and the shutdown of the Sybase blog server, I am republishing in on the SAP SCN, and taking the opportunity to update it.

To many of us today, the “cloud” seems like a bit of magic.  We often simply use the services of a cloud based system without really thinking about where the cloud is located, or who keeps it running.   Ultimately, behind every “cloud”, there are real people managing real machines.   What is marketed as a “cloud” is really a rack of machines, with a very real person who has to keep them running.  To that person; the administrator, the “cloud” isn’t “in the cloud”, it’s in his own data center!  The administrator must put together a set of machines, software and administrative tools that enable everything to be viewed in a completely hands-off way by the users, so that they think of it as a “cloud”.

The challenge vendors face when trying to market and sell something for “the cloud” is that the definition of “the cloud” is so broad and varied.  What passes as the cloud to one person is simply a set of machines to another person.   Our SQL Anywhere on-demand edition, is one such product designed to help the administrator of those machines to create a data cloud.  While the administrator certainly will know what machines are in use, where the database servers are running and where the databases are located, the end user will be enabled to simply view their database as “being in the cloud”.

The administrator of the cloud system will use one of the primary components of SQL Anywhere on-demand: the administrative console.  The console is designed to enable an administrator to easily keep track of the various “host” machines that are part of the system, the SQL Anywhere servers that are running on each host, and the databases being served by each database server. The console also provides access to all the various tasks that an administrator might want to execute on their running cloud; including starting and stopping database servers, adding a new database into the cloud, setting up high-availability for a database, and backup/restore operations. The console is completely web-driven, so it can be accessed using a standard Flash-enabled web browser.

You can find out more about SQL Anywhere on-demand, and try it out yourself  by registering for the free trial download.

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