Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2013. Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.
Contributed article by Colin Jack, lead systems engineer, Embotics
Cure for Cloud Fatigue: Prescription for 2013
In the New Year, cloud computing will
continue to dominate industry discussions, and this question will weigh on IT
leaders: Is your company desensitized when it comes to the viral marketing term
Do you despise most vendors, some
analysts and all marketing folks?
Are you tired of companies placing "cloud"
into their product names or conveniently placing letters before or after the
Are you tired of sifting through pages
of cloud rubbish with no idea what a product actually does?
Are you tired of false promises made
by vendors and manufacturers?
If so, you are probably experiencing
cloud fatigue. Cloud fatigue is the onset of conditions often associated with
cloud market hype, exaggerated benefits and unfulfilled promises with a deep
sense of, "this is yesterday's news; aren't we over it yet?" All the various acronyms
with "as-a-service" in them - such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service
(PaaS) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) - leave end users and IT departments
perplexed about what to use and how to manage these cloud-based offerings. The
good news is you are not alone. With a little preparation, you too can embrace
cloud computing and emerging trends without getting a bad case of cloud
Cloud computing has evolved and
matured in the past three years, but it certainly isn't a new trend. Some
scholars say that cloud computing's roots go all the way back to the 1950's,
when scientist Herb Grosch postulated that the entire world
would operate on terminals
powered by about 15 large data centers. We aren't there yet, but when you
consider these likely 2013 trends, we may be headed in that direction:
Onset of cloud fatigue (the perception
that cloud computing is taking over the world);
Transformation from using computers
and infrastructure to consuming services and applications;
Commoditization of the hypervisor and
the portability of workloads;
Continued adoption of private clouds
(shared resources, elastic provisioning, utility-type consumption and management
Migration of workloads to public and
hybrid clouds (the illusion of infinite supply).
Today's realities, technologies and
applications can simultaneously enable and inhibit cloud fatigue. As with any
condition, it is important to diagnose the extent of the disease and its causes,
and to consult experts who can prescribe guidance on prevention and treatment. A
cloud readiness questionnaire will help you to diagnose your company's cloud
readiness and cloud management capabilities and determine where your company
lands on the cloud computing maturity model. Then you will be able to begin
your fight against cloud fatigue and its associated threats by determining how
your company fits into the following cloud computing trends.
Cloud computing is taking over the world.
computing isn't taking over the world; the world is just evolving in how it
consumes applications and services and takes advantage of cloud computing. You
have probably already embraced cloud computing on your smartphone, so isn't it
time for corporate IT to leverage the cloud's design goals and principles? Find
out how mature your IT organization is in its delivery of cloud-based applications and private cloud
management services, and don't worry about the cloud-fatigued marketing folks; they
will be fine.
Trend 2: Applications continue to drive
infrastructure and platform adoption.
By most measures, the operating system
(OS)/virtual machine (VM) has become a commodity with the application becoming
the secret sauce, while the hypervisor and cloud computing remain strategic
enablers. Applications will continue to drive the build out of infrastructure
and platform adoption, while data center management strategies fixated on
deploying and managing VMs will become absolute. No longer will organizations
build out data centers blindly and then deploy applications. Business units
will increasingly demand specialty applications that will force IT to evaluate
the necessary infrastructure to support those services. Responsive IT groups
will evaluate both internal resources (traditional data centers, adoption of
private clouds) against external providers (SaaS and hybrid/public cloud
providers) and make an informed decision based on performances, service level
agreements, cost models and security and regulatory considerations.
Trend 3: IT adopts multiple hypervisors.
Enterprises will get serious about a
multi-hypervisor strategy in 2013, as the commoditization of the hypervisor comes
to pass. Financial incentives (expiration of VMware enterprise license
agreements) combined with technically viable alternatives (Microsoft Hyper-V, Linux
Kernel-based virtual machines and Citrix) will help beachhead adoptions and
architectural strategies that span beyond VMware. While initial adoptions of
Hyper-V may be limited to non-mission-critical workloads, they will provide
Microsoft with the proving ground to demonstrate a cheaper, vendor-friendly
alternative whose adoption could mimic Windows NT4, Active Directory, Exchange
and SharePoint. Could VMware become the next Netscape? No, but it has the
potential to become the next Novell.
Trend 4: Private cloud adoption continues to
In a recent research report published by
Information Week, 67 percent of organizations surveyed
said they are using or considering private clouds, while 73 percent report data
center demands will increase over last year. The prognosis of increased demand
can only be handled through improvements in people, processes and technology.
Private cloud adoption will continue to serve as a strategic enabler in the
delivery of IT services to end users in a highly automated and optimized
fashion. Delivery times for provisioning services are frequently reduced from
days to hours, while integrated cost models lay the foundation for curbing
consumption and comparison shopping. Chief information officers who deliver and
effectively manage private clouds with integrated cost models can now evaluate
internal services against external providers. This approach will undoubtedly
yield improvements in service; even if it doesn't, it will provide the
financial analysis to make informed decisions. While security, latency and
regulatory concerns will remain inhibitors in public cloud adoption,
self-service provisioning, automation of routine tasks and better stewardship
over resources remain drivers beyond private cloud adoption.
Trend 5: Increased workloads move to hybrid and public clouds.
In terms of cloud models, it is
becoming clear that organizations won't adopt a single cloud deployment model,
but will opt for a combination of various cloud services. The percentage of
development/quality assurance workloads migrating to the cloud will continue to
increase, while compliance, security, performance and cost visibility will
continue to be limiting factors in moving production workloads. Map anticipated
benefits for each workload against the associated risks and pay particular
attention to the fully loaded cost of moving and managing a workload in the
cloud. Most providers will make it easy to migrate to them but will deploy
tactics to keep workloads under their management. Establish security,
management and governance models to coordinate the use of internal and external
services to minimize the risk of shadow IT moving beyond your corporate
firewall. The ability to effectively manage workloads across cloud instances
and automate the migration of workloads based on SLAs, performance and cost
will ensure a successful augmentation of private resources with public
computing while avoiding delusional dreams of cloud nirvana.
The coming year will be a tipping
point for cloud computing. In 2013, the cloud's benefits will clearly outweigh
any symptoms of cloud fatigue for organizations that embrace insight, prescription
and guidance. Transforming the traditional data center into a service-centric
modern data center will require planning, commitment and execution. Before
moving workloads beyond corporate firewalls, evaluate the feasibility and costs associated with private clouds and the
manageability of these clouds. If you cannot establish governance policies for
hosting internal workloads, the problem will only be magnified when you move workloads
to public clouds. Most importantly, shrug off all the vendor hype around cloud
computing and focus on implementing solutions and services that work simply -
and simply work. If you cannot see it, get your hands on it and evaluate it
through a proof of concept, trial or other method, then you will know to send
the solution, the vendor and the marketing team packing.
About the Author
Colin Jack is the lead systems
engineer at Embotics Corporation. He
oversees cloud management educational efforts at local VMUGs and other customer
events. Previously, Colin was the IT manager and systems administrator for a
number of technology and telecommunication firms.