Arguments for and against the cloud are starting to calm down a bit, andthat the cloud is somewhere in your future, if not in your present.
Instead of arguing semantics of application development and delivery, the discussion should really be around how to deal with a mix of on-premise and on-demand, a combination that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
I spent the first half of this week in Las Vegas at a nontech trade show, and missed both VMworld and the Red Hat Summit. However, watching and reading from afar, I noticed two major themes in discussion around both cloud computing and virtualization: cloud interoperability and the lack of application management tools.
Cloud interoperability--the ability to abstract the programmatic differences from one cloud to another--is a key to adoption. If we assume that some percentage of private compute clouds will be based on virtualization, and we know that a large percentage of public clouds already are, then the ability to move among virtual machines is a critical function in this regard.
Red Hat is obviously taking interoperability seriously, with Thursday's launch of Deltacloud, a new open-source project "designed to enable an ecosystem of developers, tools, scripts, and applications that can interoperate across the public and private clouds."
Let's remember that right now, there is a difference between managing applications that are in your own data center and managing those at a cloud provider. Missing here are new management tools that cross borders in a seamless manner and don't discriminate against different hypervisors or application platforms.
Cloud application management isn't so much about workloads as it is the ability to move applications and associated data from cloud to cloud and system to system with no interference. This new realm of internal-external systems management opens up a world of opportunities but faces some significant speed bumps.
I noted last week that Amazon's announcement of virtual private clouds presents a challenge for many cloud-oriented start-ups. The issue is that Amazon calls the shots on the cloud and VMware on virtualization. And while both companies have done fairly well by their users (let's say better than we would expect from Microsoft or Oracle), innovation is stuck within their respective ways of doing things.
Regardless, there is a cloud management opportunity, with open-source projects like Puppet, as well as Red Hat's new release of Network Satellite 5.3. While neither is cloud-specific, applications that support large-scale infrastructure management are perhaps the first step in harnessing the computing power inside and attached to your data center.
Arguments for and against the cloud are starting to calm down a bit--and most agree that the cloud is somewhere in your future. The discussion should really be around how to deal with a mix of on-premise and on-demand, a combination that is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.
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