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
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