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Inter-Cloud Peering Points

A primary benefit of Cloud computing is this time-saving automation of mundane IT tasks,

The golden question in the Cloud computing industry is what role will outsourcing providers play. Enterprise customers adopting lots of Private Cloud is an internal function, it does nothing to stimulate procurement from third-party outsourcing suppliers.

The Inter-Cloud

One key answer is ‘Inter-Cloud Peering’: Gateway services to inter-connect these private clouds.

As highlighted in their ‘Cloud for Clunkers‘ plan the US Government is one major organization planning adoption. Point 2 says:

“2. Create a government-wide marketplace for data center availability. Within the next 18 months, OMB and GSA will create a government-wide marketplace that better utilizes spare capacity within operational data centers.”

This reflects the evolutionary trend that Cloud represents: Telcos first built peering points to enable the network effect for telephony and fax machines, then they did the same for IP traffic to enable the Internet, and so logically the next main event will be the equivalent for computing.

Consequently it will give rise to the Inter-Cloud the same way.

As highlighted in the Canadian Government roadmap they also have plans for Inter-Cloud services. In the CCR slide 8 describes a ‘Cloud Peering Layer’, and slide 14 departmental private peering and public Cloud peering.

Cloud Provisioning Services and UC federations

Utilizing Cloud inter-operation methods to share applications and their data will provide a very fertile area for product development, as it reaches into benefit areas such as IT automation and Unified Collaboration integrations.

For example the Canadian Roadmap also identifies a need for ‘Cloud Provisioning Services’. Slide13 identifies this layer as the automation backbone for delivering virtualized servers and storage.

A primary benefit of Cloud computing is this time-saving automation of mundane IT tasks, and as a result can improve service delivery in areas like user accounts set up and data backups.

Inter-Cloud services will enable this automation across multiple providers and data-centres. The standards for ‘Inter-Cloud Services’ (ICS) are being defined by the TMF here. This is a project team of vendors like Comptel and Progress who are working with Cisco to develop software for automating provisioning of services across multiple Cloud providers, a ‘Unified Service Delivery’.

It provides a blueprint for this single architecture for IP networks, client-side devices, SaaS collaboration apps like Webex and the new Cloud-driven virtualized data-centre.

Unified Computing

There are other similar standards for interoperation between Clouds, like the DMTF, who published their ‘Interoperable Clouds’ white paper (21-page PDF) to describe how this will enable providers to build “Cloud federations”.

This will act as secured clearinghouses for sharing application data like Unified Communications, with UC expert Andy Zmolek describing the product feature benefits of these here.

Cisco positions their Unified Computing product range as a an overall maturity model for Cloud Computing infrastructure that leads up to these Inter-Cloud Services.

Cisco’s Cloud portfolio is intended to help enterprises transform their IT organizations and includes Virtual Machine Networking technologies, their core UC platform and partnerships with VMware and others to cater for the central, multi-tenant Cloud platform in a secure manner, which Cisco addresses through their VMDC solution.

Importantly via technologies like ‘WaaS‘ they also cater for the full end-to-end requirements of the corporate IT and how they will adopt Private Cloud, assuring performance for the SaaS model for apps like MS Sharepoint.

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