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Internal Clouds and Marketing the Non-Existent

A cloud which now exists within the data center leads to a rather ironic image of a misty atmosphere that causes more confusion

I was recently asked my opinion on what were the main considerations for Cloud Computing with specific emphasis on Internal Clouds.

Eager to assist I quickly gave a rundown of issues which included SLAs, distinguishing charge rates, security etc, etc.

Pleased with the response received our conversation then veered off into another direction but then it struck me - I had just fallen victim to the marketing jargon. Internal Cloud?

What on earth was he asking me and what on earth had I just answered with?

I thought back and reassessed my understanding of the Cloud to what I originally understood it as i.e. that the Cloud was beyond the realms of the data center and certainly not internal. Facts told me that Cloud storage services whether it be a backup or archive reside outside of the local data center and into the ‘clouds' even to the extent of being in another continent.

So how then does the oxymoron of ‘internal cloud' exist so much so that in depth conversations are taking place between consultants, IT managers and Storage Engineers at a data center near you? The answer is simple; marketing. Not content with pushing Cloud and SAAS as the future low end tiered storage, the term ‘internal clouds' is now being marketed and ascribed to new and upcoming products which in essence are only offering added support for virtualization or clustering.

The metaphor of an ‘internal cloud' i.e. a cloud which now exists within the data center leads to a rather ironic image of a misty atmosphere that causes even more confusion. Blow those ‘internal clouds' away from your data center and what you'll see are flexible solutions for scalability whether they are in the guise of global namespaces, clustering, grid storage or virtualization; solutions which were already known about and quite possibly already existed within your data center but were now coined as ‘internal clouds'. Hence once the haziness has disappeared it's clear to see that the internal cloud that we've been marketed with never really existed in the first place.

So should I be asked my opinion on internal clouds again, let's just say that this time my answer will require no words but a straightforward raise of the eyebrow and a protruding of the chin.

More Stories By Archie Hendryx

SAN, NAS, Back Up / Recovery & Virtualisation Specialist.

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Most Recent Comments
swtet2003 01/18/10 12:01:12 PM EST

I doubt waving your hand (or raising an eyebrow and protruding your chin) and doing your very best Jedi mind trick will make the concept of an internal cloud go away. I do agree that some very large software companies have jumped on the cloud band wagon and simply rebranded a virtualization solution as an internal cloud solution, much like everything had to be a portal 5 years ago. But, if public clouds are so great, as an IT director, why wouldn't I want to apply some of those same concepts to my data center (obviously on a smaller scale)? While public clouds do offer many advantages, I still think corporations have to come to terms with the fact that their data is not sitting in their data center any more but maybe in a data center half way around the world. Internal clouds are here because corporate IT customers are demanding some of the same flexibility as public clouds (i.e. constant access to my data). I don't know that we will ever reach the utopia that public clouds are hyping but we certainly won't be able to flip a switch and make it happen over night. Internal clouds and hybrid cloud solutions are a key piece of cloud computing that still allow for computing resources to be where they make the most sense, even if it is still in my corporate data center.

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