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The Elastic Enterprise Extends IT Operations to the Cloud ….. Today

The enterprise extends across clouds at will, receding into familiar datacenters when done … elastic

We were all there at the beginning when, "The Internet changed everything," morphed into the paradigm buster we now call "The Cloud." As an industry, we watched Amazon (AWS) break the $100M revenue mark in 2008; scanned Gartner's first cloud computing vendor list in 2009; and heard Microsoft declare itself "all in" in 2010.

The cloud-as-infrastructure journey from promise to powerhouse has been at once exciting and disappointing. Exciting for obvious reasons and disappointing because the reality of cloud usage has largely remained the purview of development. To date, the predominant use of cloud has been for development/test sandboxes and new applications.

From this vantage point, the cloud is an infrastructure play that has grown from development roots - from virtualization technologies to packaged delivery of computing as a service. This cloud platform is great for developers and select IT cloudies (forward-thinking elite operations and the devops crowd) who actually get to take advantage of the opportunity. It's also great for the few bold enterprises that have set out to build their own private clouds in order to reproduce the capabilities of leading cloud providers at price points that match those of Amazon, Rackspace, Terramark, et al.

Private clouds are still under construction, lacking critical features, and frequently missing targeted price points. A closer look into the enterprise shows the reality that 99% of production applications remain solidly earthbound, not in the cloud. These are the applications that run the business and consume the bulk of IT budgets. These applications do not enjoy the technical and business benefits the cloud promises. Yet ....

The vision fuelling the promise is the Elastic Enterprise in which production workloads can be moved across computing resources anywhere - datacenters and clouds - at any time, according to the demands of business. The enterprise extends across clouds at will, receding into familiar datacenters when done ... elastic. Instead of the traditional hardened infrastructure that is today's mix of datacenter and outsourced operation, technology responsively serves the enterprise with agility and speed.

Conversations with so many executives map well to publicized research about what's holding enterprise applications back from the cloud:

1) a way to move existing applications without punitive manual effort

2) security

3) management

4) lock-in

Flipping the negatives, here's what the Elastic Enterprise needs to get enterprise applications taking advantage of all that great cloud potential:

  • The elastic enterprise runs production applications across a federated/hybrid operational model.
  • There must be a way to move existing enterprise applications and workloads -- quickly, easily, repeatedly, and securely -- to, from, and across all computing resources in the datacenters and clouds. Workloads must be able to move without any changes across a wide variety of physical and virtual environments including DC, IaaS, and Managed Providers.
  • Existing management tools and processes must be leveraged. In this scenario, the elastic enterprise simply appropriates cloud resources, bringing them into the operational fold.
  • The elastic enterprise will not tolerate lock-in in any form. Operational agility means dynamic provisioning of applications and workloads. The only constant is change.

This week, at Cloud Expo, AppZero and CohesiveFT announced a partnership that enables the Elastic Enterprise. Now, not later. Coming soon to your enterprise .....

I am always looking for a way to communicate better and cut to the heart of any discussion. So, if you have thoughts on this subject drop me a line at GregO {@} Appzero {dot} com or tweet me at http://twitter.com/gregoryjoconnor.

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.

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