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The Promise of Cloud Computing - Virtualization Untapped

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2010?  Find out in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed Article by Joel Wineland, Senior Product Engineer for Rackspace Hosting

The Promise of Cloud Computing - Virtualization Untapped

Throughout 2009 cloud computing has continued to gain mind share in the technology community.  For IT organizations beleaguered with budget concerns and economic woes, cloud based solutions represented a virtual panacea. Cloud concepts evangelized value propositions ranging from painless scalability and simplified administration to demand based billing. 

But despite the apparent value, businesses continue to struggle to transition preexisting Enterprise workloads into cloud environments.  Why?  While cloud virtualization offerings abound, there are far fewer options that help to migrate key workloads into these frameworks.  Additional concerns over cloud security, visibility, performance and consistency have also led many to forgo cloud benefits for critical applications. 

In-house virtualization has become an option for some hoping to reap the cloud like advantages of consolidation and infrastructure cost reduction. However, the true benefits of cloud computing are generally difficult to realize with internally maintained virtual implementations.  So many businesses begrudgingly continue to maintain inflexible and monolithic environments. Physical or virtual, these environments typically do little to inherently improve the delivery or capabilities of the applications they serve.  Internally managed VMs are commonly administrated, backed up, and maintained in much the manner of their bare metal counterparts.

2010 Cloud Convergence - The Perfect Storm

For virtualization, 2010 represents the demarcation between old and new.  The board room is sold on the cloud value proposition, and cloud solutions are no longer optional for many.  A growing number of providers have surfaced with offerings that address the current barriers to adoption, bolster confidence and enhance manageability.

  • 2010 will see resources such as Eucalyptus, OpenQRM, VMLogix and VMware's much anticipated project Redwood enable federation- bridging the gap between in-house and hosted offerings. Businesses will have the opportunity to gain increased control over their resources, extend security parameters into the cloud, and enjoy easier workload portability.
  • Thought leaders such as AppZero, rPath, RightScale and Queplix set the scene for application deployment and migration to cloud services.
  • Options from Soasta, Scout, Nimsoft and Hyperic HQ (Now Vmware) will bolster confidence by supplying ever more granular visibility and monitoring.

The Predicted Result

These exciting new solutions could help to mitigate concerns regarding difficult migrations, unpredictable performance, and lack of control.  Top tier technology providers will continue to offer the fundamental building blocks underlying these solutions. It will no longer make sense to singularly shield key applications in staid data center silos.  IT managers will be able to hand the reigns of infrastructure administration over to their selected partner. At last, IT staff will be able to retire the "keep the lights on" mentality, put aside the keys to the server closet and instead focus on profit- driving, differentiating and strategic activities.     

About the Author

Joel Wineland is a Senior Product Engineer for Rackspace Hosting, the world's leader in hosting and cloud computing.

Joel is responsible for server architecture and virtualization and has been a Racker ( Rackspace employee) since October 2008. Joel's experience includes time at Dell as an engineer-in-residence as well as a Mid-West retailer's world headquarters where he was responsible for system testing and implementation across all technology domains.

Published Wednesday, December 23, 2009 6:20 AM by David Marshall
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