|By Wendy Perilli||
|March 10, 2009 06:00 AM EDT||
What’s all the buzz about? Cloud computing is one of Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2009 – #2, right behind virtualization. Analysts say the economics of cloud for customers are truly compelling, with expected savings for business applications of 3-5x. That’s not chump change – particularly in today’s recessionary economy.
But the most compelling benefits of the cloud aren't just cost-savings. They're the increased flexibility, elasticity and scalability available to optimize efficiency and best serve the needs of the business.
What is Cloud Computing
Whether you're an enterprise or small to medium business, you'll soon be benefiting from the cloud. But what is cloud computing exactly?
Cloud computing is essentially the ability to acquire or deliver a resource on demand, configured however the users chooses, and paid for according to consumption. From a supplier's perspective, including both internal IT groups and service providers, it means being able to deliver and manage resource pools and applications in a multi-tenancy environment, to deliver the user an on-demand, pay-per-use service. A cloud service can be infrastructure for hosting applications or data storage, a development platform, or even an application that you can get on-demand, either off-site at a provider, such as SunGard or Salesforce, or built onsite within IT.
It's important to note that while many view cloud computing as services consumed externally, innovative CIOs have taken the steps to transform their IT groups into internal service providers. This strategic shift gives them control and accountability for usage and resources, while providing a dynamic, self service model to accommodate the needs and SLAs required by the business units. To see how one enterprise did this, you can view their video story online at: www.vmware.com/cloud.
For those of us who remember the good old dot com days, before the bust, we saw the concept of hosted services emerge. Everyone jumped on the ASP, ISP, MSP (application service provider, internet service provider, managed service provider, respectively) bandwagons and built offerings to deliver online services or variants thereof, such as on-demand software and software-as-a-service (SaaS).
Remembering back to the xSP days, however, we must also remember that there were issues with the services hosting model. One issue was that few were comfortable with the concept of having their information hosted outside of their immediate control, as well as the fear of being locked into a relationship with particular vendors.
So, as the new concept of the cloud emerges, many are asking how it's different this time around and what should we expect? Unlike those previous hosting models, we see well-established companies diversifying their business models to offer new services, based on established core competencies. This fundamental difference will help shape and stabilize the new concept of the cloud.
VMware CTO Steve Herrod keynoting SYS-CON's 3rd Virtualization Conference & Expo in New York. Read an Exclusive Q&A wth Herrod here.
But even more importantly, we have seen new technologies evolve over the past decade that are essential to the notion of the cloud. The key technology is virtualization. In addition to some amazing cost savings and goodness for the environment, virtualization's ability to separate the OS and application from the hardware give it ideal properties to best deliver these on-demand cloud services. Charles King, Principal Analyst at Pund-IT put it succinctly: "Without virtualization there is no cloud- that's what enabled the emergence of this new, sustainable industry."
Challenges of the cloud
Today, new and established vendors are vying to deliver cloud services. The challenge for users becomes choosing the right offering. Many of the offerings are really designed to encourage development on the vendor's proprietary platform, limiting switching abilities and propagating the offering through applications built for the external cloud only. This is appealing to the development community as it enables quick access to infrastructure and development platforms on which to create a cloud application. But this can become a nightmare for IT when the application has to come back into the enterprise for production-level support, as well as dealing with SOX and IP risks. The viability of this solution is potentially the unearthing of a more significant problem, the inability of IT to deliver infrastructure on demand to meet the dynamic needs of these groups. However in many cases, unless you're building an application from scratch, most businesses don't have the time or resources to rewrite their production applications to work in the cloud on a proprietary platform.
Users should choose a cloud strategy that enables the fastest development time for new applications, with the broadest support for various OSs and development environments, as well as the ability to support production-level applications on- and off-premise as needed.
The other challenge is mobility and choice in location for running applications, internally in a private cloud or externally in a public cloud. Another approach we see in the market is the "superstore phenomenon." Organizations such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google all plan to battle it out over whose superstore datacenter will be the place your developers will build and house their cloud applications. It is true that these are all stable brands and their infrastructure will likely be a safe place to run your applications; however, in the event of outages, downtime and the inability to access your applications, what options will you have? Additionally, how will you manage these instances, where they live long term and what risks will be imposed by keeping them off site? Users should be able to move their applications at will from one cloud to another, whether internally or externally.
Obviously, the encapsulation offered in virtualization and the mobility found in technology like VMware VMotion - which enables a live virtual machine to be moved with no downtime for the application - increase a user's ability to move virtual machines as needed. VMware's approach to the cloud is not about vendor lock-in , but is about enabling its ecosystem of partners to build and deliver services on a common platform, allowing users to simplify the federation of clouds, on or off premise as needed, to a broad base of service providers.
Lastly, you'll want to look at innovation and stability in providing the technology to leverage your virtualization investments into internal or external cloud options. If your production environments are running on VMware and you chose that platform due to the robust innovation cycles, reliability and technology advancements offered today, you want nothing less in a cloud services provider off-premise. Say you want to establish a relationship with a service provider to offer some flex capacity at the end of the quarter for financial reporting activities. You'll still want the reliability of your production system, control of that environment and the ability to move your VMs when and where you want. Also, as you build your internal clouds, look for vendors that are building for the future and whatever new technologies and application infrastructures might come along, visionary vendors that are future-proofed for new trends and have proven that they can deliver technology innovation in a timely manner.
Why does virtualization matter when building or selecting cloud services/vendors?
Clearly, there's a new trend emerging with lots of options, but also many challenges that could cost big money to reverse. How does virtualization address these challenges and allow a seamless transition to a cloud strategy, either on- or off-premise?
As mentioned above the key requirements you should demand from your cloud providers are: broad application support without lock-in, ease in mobility of environments, broad choice of locations (internal or external), and innovation that drives simplified federation of on- and off-premise clouds. Additionally, as an enterprise you'll want to look for innovation in building the internal (private) cloud to evolve your ability to offer dynamic services.
As noted, virtualization is the key. Most companies' first step on the virtualization path is to consolidate their servers, using virtualization to run multiple applications on each server instead of just one, increasing the utilization rate of (and getting more value from) every server and, thus, dramatically reducing the number of servers they need to buy, rack, power, cool, and manage.
Having consolidated servers, you realize that not only have you substantially cut the capital and operating costs of your server environments, but as a result the entire datacenter has become far more flexible. Along the way, you may have started to think about and to use IT resources - including servers, storage, networks, desktops, and applications - not as isolated silos that must be managed individually but as pools of resources that can be managed in the aggregate.
This means that you can now move resources around at will across the network, from server to server, datacenter to datacenter, and even out into the cloud, to balance loads and use compute capacity more efficiently across the entire global IT environment.
In other words, users are able to look at the compute power as a centralized resource that they can now allocate to business units on demand, while still maintaining control and operational excellence. Leveraging virtualization to better serve users gives your organization the obvious lower TCO, but also allows for accountability of usage, simplifies and meets the needs of on-demand infrastructure requests, and allows for your ability to serve, control and manage SLAs.
Hence, virtualization has played and will continue to play a huge role in cloud computing. It is the technology that has allowed service providers to deliver lower-cost hosting environments to businesses of all sizes today. Just as virtualization enabled you to consolidate your servers and do more with less hardware, it also lets you support more users per piece of hardware, and deliver applications - and the servers on which they run - faster to those users.
As the leader in virtualization, VMware recently launched its vCloud initiative. With its proven, reliable platform deployed in over 120,000 customer environments today, VMware is committed to working with enterprises who want to build internal clouds with the ability to federate to external providers to meet the changing needs of thier business. VMware's virtual datacenter operating system, enables internal clouds with features such as self-service provisioning, chargeback, and many other advanced automation and management features.
In addition, VMware is leveraging its huge ecosystem to bring new cloud offerings, such as security for clouds, to market. The virtualization market leader's approach leverages the infrastructure and expertise of hundreds of partners worldwide, including brand names such as Verizon, Hosting.com, SunGard, Terremark and Savvis to deliver the VMware platform and cloud services. This, in combination with the technology for internal clouds, lets enterprises run their applications where they want, when they want.
With the largest choice of location and interoperability of platforms, the broadest application and OS support, and leading virtualization and cloud technologies, VMware and its cloud strategy offer users a safe, reliable, and robust on-ramp to the cloud, whether on or off premise.
So, if you're a VMware user, you're in good hands and you've already taken steps toward the cloud simply by virtualizing your servers on a proven platform that offers rich management and automation features. You will see VMware continue to lead the market in delivering cloud innovation for both on- and off-premise clouds.
If you're not a VMware user but want reliable infrastructure on demand, many service providers offer VMware Infrastructure 3 with pay-per-use models. For more information about VMware vCloud or to find a partner that can help you realize the benefits of the cloud, visit: www.vmware.com/vcloud.
"Avere Systems is a hybrid cloud solution provider. We have customers that want to use cloud storage and we have customers that want to take advantage of cloud compute," explained Rebecca Thompson, VP of Marketing at Avere Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 07:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,993
"We formed Formation several years ago to really address the need for bring complete modernization and software-defined storage to the more classic private cloud marketplace," stated Mark Lewis, Chairman and CEO of Formation Data Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 06:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,480
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Jul. 25, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,455
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Jul. 25, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,748
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Jul. 25, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,351
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Jul. 25, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,007
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Jul. 25, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,396
Most organizations prioritize data security only after their data has already been compromised. Proactive prevention is important, but how can you accomplish that on a small budget? Learn how the cloud, combined with a defense and in-depth approach, creates efficiencies by transferring and assigning risk. Security requires a multi-defense approach, and an in-house team may only be able to cherry pick from the essential components. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Vlad Friedman, CEO/Founder o...
Jul. 25, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,823
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,183
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. Commvault can ensure protection, access and E-Discovery of your data – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise. In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist - Windows Products and Microsoft Part...
Jul. 25, 2016 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,838
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Jul. 25, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,166
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Jul. 25, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 999
With over 720 million Internet users and 40–50% CAGR, the Chinese Cloud Computing market has been booming. When talking about cloud computing, what are the Chinese users of cloud thinking about? What is the most powerful force that can push them to make the buying decision? How to tap into them? In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Yu Hao, CEO and co-founder of SpeedyCloud, answered these questions and discussed the results of SpeedyCloud’s survey.
Jul. 25, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 822
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Jul. 25, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,224
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Jul. 25, 2016 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,255
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,646
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Jul. 25, 2016 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,166
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Jul. 25, 2016 12:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,878
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jul. 25, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,493
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 25, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,441