Agility, in this specific case being the ability for the enterprise to deliver compute capability more quickly and directly to the employees that need it will, be a key component to the business case for adoption of cloud architectures. So says Bernard Golden, CEO of cloud consulting firm HyperStratus, in an article than can be found here.
Based on feedback from our clients regarding their plans for cloud computing, most are trending on the same adoption curve that has been demonstrated by the move towards virtualization: first customers will implement where there natural transition is taking place (retirement of outdated/depreciated servers or storage devices, a new application being deployed, etc.) and a clear cost savings can be demonstrated, second they begin to look at how to maximize the business benefits by extending the evolved use paradigm enabled by the new architecture, and finally they look to optimize the full business benefits by completing the infrastructure integration and encouraging constituents to embrace and leverage the full benefits of the new ways to things.
When business leaders see the clear link between real time delivery of compute resources and data access with their users ability to raise productivity and shorten time-to-market; it will mark the inflection point on the cloud adoption curve.
- Bob’s Perspective
At a recent industry conference, a good perspective on which applications enterprises are moving to the cloud, was provided by Rackspace’s President & Chief Strategy Officer of Cloud Services, Lew Moorman. Rackspace generally defines “Cloud” as strictly Multi-Tenant wholly shared infrastructure; this is distinguished from Dedicated-Tenant or Managed Hosted models that sometimes are lumped into the “cloud” category. He presented two valuable insights on the early decision-making trends of enterprise IT customer’s on how best to transition from legacy to cloud data center models:
1. Enterprises are not transitioning legacy applications “as-is” to the cloud. New applications are driving the bulk of growth in the cloud space as enterprise IT managers don’t want to disrupt working systems for legacy apps.
2. “Private Cloud” is code for enterprise IT shops to “make [their] inefficient operations more efficient.” He ponders why enterprises would want to consider trying to replicate the expertise and efficiencies being professionally honed by the many competing cloud service providers.
Regarding the first point, this makes intuitive sense. There are some applications that scream to be transitioned to the cloud; highly seasonal apps, applications that are massively compute-intensive for short and unpredictable intervals, batch jobs, etc. These, have been amongst the first production apps that have been migrated and tuned, out of necessity, to cloud services. Conversely, enterprise IT shops are loathe to “fix what ain’t broke” and therefore we are not seeing many Legacy production apps transition to the cloud while they continue to run adequately on non-fully depreciated capital infrastructure. However, as enterprises hit the end-of-life-cycle points that require the revamp and refresh of legacy production applications, these will be more likely retooled and implemented in the cloud. NuSpective is seeing mid sized enterprises embracing other service models, such as Dedicated-Tenant (http://www.nuspective.com/solutions/cloud-services/) that provide a means by which they can incrementally embrace the benefits of outsourced infrastructure at a lower risk than moving Tier 1 applications directly to the the Multi-Tenant cloud.
As to the second of Mr. Moorman’s points, he is critically questioning the value of building a “Private Cloud” as incremental-ism of dubious merit. The implied question: if you see the benefit of moving to the cloud, why reinvent that which is already being delivered at highly scaled efficiency by the market? This question is worth meaningful consideration by the IT executive contemplating his/her cloud strategy. However, the improvement of “inefficiencies” referred to by Mr. Moorman is often a suitable interim step when making the decision on how to best move from legacy physical-oriented data center deployments towards a more utility or “cloud” model. Many data center infrastructure OEMs have been marketing their “Private Cloud” solutions for over a year to a receptive enterprise market. NuSpective calls the integration of legacy, “Private Cloud”, and 3rd party cloud service providers the Data Center Hybrid (http://www.nuspective.com/solutions/data-center-hybrid/).
You can see the Om Malick interview of Lew Moorman, it took place at GigaOm’s Structure 2010 conference in June, 2010, here:
- Bob’s Perspective
According to research firm Corporate Executive Board, 3 of every 4 IT roles currently occupied in today’s enterprises will be transformed into something very different within the next 5 years. The findings drive home two points worth highlighting:
Many of our cutomers are considering these trends as they go through their strategic long range planning exercises. What will your IT organization look like in 5 years?
For a full executive summary of the CEB report, please go here: http://news.executiveboard.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=1291
If you have not seen this clip from several months back it is worth viewing. Larry Ellison’s rant on Cloud Computing is mostly humorous but not without insight. He makes the point that Cloud Computing is ’simply renting compute and network resources’; indeed this is the business model of the Cloud in its most basic terms. The classic “rent vs. buy” business decision wrapped in the industry “term du jour”.
This past week Cisco & EMC announced the appointment of telecom and technolgy industry veteran Michael Capellas to run their new joint venture: Acadia. Acadia will be marketing the VBlock packages of integrated Cisco/EMC/VMware platforms that are designed to ease the deployment of so-called “Private Clouds”.
The high profile Capellas appointment, ex MCI/Verizon & First Data Executive, signals the high expectations that the parent companies have for their new offspring. It is further market validation that virtualization is enabling a rapid shift in Data Center thinking within the Enterprise. The Acadia approach is to provide an out-of-the-box offering that simplifies the value chain: compute-network-storage, and eventually to a third party “Cloud” Service Provider (presumably Vblock powered).
NetApp has its own Cisco & VMware partnership that delivers the Secure Virtualized Dynamic Data Center vision of the “Private Cloud” concept. The NetApp approach has delivered more specifics and examples about how to integrate with Third Party Cloud Providers – or the federation of your Private Cloud with a Managed-Hosted Service Provider.
You can expect to see the Third Party Cloud Service Providers line up behind these coalitions with their integration support. This will provide the Enterprise IT decision maker a broader set of lower-risk options to adopt the Data Center Hybrid model. As the technical integration barriers begin to ease, the next frontier for Third Party Cloud Service Providers will be broader support for compliance and regulatory requirements.
The Acadia announcement is great news! It is evidence that real work is being done by the key OEM vendors to overcome the issues facing broader market acceptance of Cloud Services (both Private and Third Party).
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