|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.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Sep. 25, 2014 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,818
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
Sep. 22, 2014 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,367
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
Sep. 22, 2014 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,009
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Sep. 12, 2014 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,513
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
Sep. 12, 2014 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,815
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Sep. 11, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,295
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Sep. 10, 2014 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,694
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
Sep. 10, 2014 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,791
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using...
Sep. 6, 2014 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 5,098
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the...
Sep. 6, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,812
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
Sep. 6, 2014 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,837
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps 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 opportunity. Submit your speak...
Sep. 5, 2014 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,027
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful devic...
Sep. 4, 2014 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 9,061
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
Sep. 4, 2014 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,382
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
Sep. 3, 2014 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,301
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic instit...
Sep. 3, 2014 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,580
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
Sep. 3, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,660
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with ...
Sep. 2, 2014 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,522
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing th...
Sep. 2, 2014 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,979
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research dat...
Sep. 2, 2014 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,821