Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your own Virtual and Private Cloud


The rise of Cloud Computing is spawning a new subset of the industry. The era of the private cloud is coming to an organization near you.

There are some organizations that need “private clouds” in order to follow guidelines for national security policies and some that just feel being in the “cloud” is too risky. One of the challenges being faced is the fact that many of the laws were designed for earlier days (Circa-80s) in computing. (note: a similar challenge is being faced with potentially felonious access to wi-fi networks).

This is the second part in a series on Cloud Computing. The first segment was Is your Future Cloudy? and covered why you care and why big companies care about Cloud Computing. In this segment I’m more focused on segmentation of the cloud into Public, Private, and Hybrid areas with an emphasis again on why you will care and why big corporations will care.

The Point is Moot

imageThe long term result for Cloud Computing initiatives is that everyone will end up with their own Virtual and Private Cloud. No one will talk about public, private and hybrid clouds. Much like most everyone has their own mobile phone number now – they also have a home number which others might share and their work number which may be connected to a common trunk line with numerous extensions.

The irony is that this not really a new concept. A similar model of computing has been around since the IBM SNA days. One of the differences is the ubiquity and ultimately the the cost of making all of this possible. Hardware is relatively cheap. Using some of the advanced virtualization capabilities available today in combination with solid management tools the ability to deliver cloud computing services to the masses is becoming a reality – whether it’s for a private, public or hybrid cloud.

What does this mean for the IT Industry?


In order to provide any kind of cloud computing environment – Public, Private, or a Hybrid – there will be an uptick in demand for IT and Business professionals that know how to design, develop, and deploy solutions that can maximize the benefits of clouds.

To take advantage of the potential for reduced upfront costs, the ability to utilize hardware (and software) more efficiently, and the trend towards Green IT there will be a need for a new wave of both business and IT professionals. This new wave will be comprised of people with experience in building out data centers and with skills in virtualization (Virtualization skills are in demand – according Robert Half).

Where will these “Private Clouds” come from?

The most notable, but certainly not the only, vendors are:

In order to optimize cloud offerings – whether they are private, public or a hybrid of each virtualization will be a critical part of the equation. There are many vendors and many variations on how virtualization can be done. From an application and platform perspective the primary vendors today are EMC with their VMware and Parallels with their Virtuozzo products. Microsoft has Hyper-V and Citrix has XenServer.

image There will be a lot of ink written and a lot of words thrown around comparing different ways to “do” virtualization. I think in the end there will be a combination of Hypervisor and Containers to serve the needs of cloud computing vendors and end users.

The winner in the virtualization game will be the one that provides the best tools for automating and managing the design, development, and deployment of virtualization services – across applications, servers, and storage. The winner in the virtualization space will be the one that trains a broad and globally dispersed team to support a disparate infrastructure. The winner in the virtualization space will be the one that helps set the stage for a standardized set of offerings for their own solutions and those of the hardware, software, and services vendors.

What does this mean to you?

The big winner in this is the consumer --- meaning end users and also businesses. I think the biggest winners will be the Small Medium Businesses (SMB) and the Small Office Home Office (SOHO) businesses. The SMB and SOHO markets will gain access to powerful tools in the form of applications and services that they can “rent” on an as needed basis. As their businesses grow they can add more applications, services, and capabilities ---which may allow them to grow faster than they ever thought possible.

The initial entry points with Private Clouds will allow businesses to try things that they may have been imageunwilling, or in the case of some regulated industries unable, to try on a broad scale basis. The reduced upfront costs, the lowered ongoing costs, and the ability to get access to tools never before available will drive the widespread adoption of Private Clouds. The initial deployments will include a lot of talk about virtualization to deliver the cloud based services. As mentioned above, over time, the distinction will be blurred and ultimately wiped away between Private, Public, and Hybrid clouds and the usage of virtualization will become de rigueur.

In the end --- Everyone will have their own Virtual and Private Cloud --- but no one will think about it this way. Just like the electric grid and the roadways have become part of our everyday lives Cloud Computing services will too.

This is the second in a series on Cloud Computing and the impact on Social Media, Enterprise Software, and Personal / Home use. Next up “The Rise of the Cloudlet.”

What’s your story for Cloud Based Services? I’d like to hear about it. Perhaps we can collaborate on a few articles. My contact information is below. Send me an e-mail, Tweet me, or add a comment to this blog posting.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

** I am available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. My areas of emphasis are business development and alliance management at the Intersection of Enterprise Content Management and Social Media.

Creative Commons License

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1 comment:

chrisg said...

Absolutely fabulous piece. Completely agree. Virtualization and cloud computing are definitely going to morph in how we think of them today. They have to, and as they do it will open up new avenues for jobs, revenue, and building of efficiencies. add in some green computing and you have the making of a great stimulus idea.