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Microsoft: From 2010 to 2011 - Walking the Cloud Talk

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this series exclusive.

Contributed Article By David Greschler, Director, Virtualization and Cloud Strategy, Server and Tools Business at Microsoft

From 2010 to 2011: Walking the Cloud Talk

2010 was the year of the cloud. We saw some massive changes across the industry as IT decision makers and technology vendors wrestled with the shift to cloud computing. In particular, the industry had to grapple with many differing - and often conflicting - definitions of cloud computing. Certainly virtualization was often part of the discussion; however, 2010 brought a broader understanding that virtualization was no longer the end of the road, but instead a helpful stepping stone to the agile, responsive world of cloud computing.

With an understanding of the cloud possibilities established, I believe 2011 is the year that IT departments will really begin to develop their cloud plans for implementation. Gartner has estimated that worldwide cloud services revenue (including public and private services) will reach $148.8 billion in 2014.

As I see it, virtualization experts are poised to help their companies make that shift from virtualization to cloud computing and shape the cloud computing strategy that matches their needs.

To that end, here are some specific things IT pros - especially virtualization experts - should consider when planning for their own careers and company cloud implementation in 2011 and beyond:

  • One size can't and won't fit all: 2011 will see organizations begin implementing clouds of all shapes and sizes, be they public, private or a combination of the two. Already Microsoft has worked with customers on various types of cloud deployments:
    • Some like Aer Lingus, the European airline that developed an online trip-planning application, are using the Windows Azure platform to create and run applications that have more scalability and provide a better customer experience. 
    • Others, such as translation specialist Lionbridge, have deployed a private cloud solution using Hyper-V and System Center that enabled them to take their existing IT investments in virtualization to the next level.

The more robust cloud systems become, the more possible solutions - and therefore combinations of solutions - will be available to IT users.

  • You don't have to start over. In 2010, companies started to realize that moving to the cloud doesn't mean starting from scratch. In fact, you can build private cloud solutions on top of existing datacenter investments - Windows Server, Hyper-V, and System Center comprise fully integrated server, virtualization, and management solutions. Microsoft's recently announced Hyper-V Cloud programs and initiatives help IT pros deploy private clouds that build on existing investments. You can also use the same management, identity and application platform across both private and public clouds. For instance, did you know that many native .NET apps can be run locally and in our public cloud. Azure? And with our recently announced VMrole, you will be able to move many Hyper-V virtual machines into the Azure public cloud. In 2011, I predict IT managers will increasingly take advantage of these sort of use-what-you-have options to ease the addition of cloud computing to their infrastructures


  • End-to-end management will become a core requirement: In 2010, IT decision makers realized the complexities of adding a cloud component to their existing desktop-to-datacenter environment. More than ever, IT started demanding the tools needed to create a common thread of management framework and identity models for applications and IT systems, which is a key part of Microsoft's System Center management offering. That's part of the reason Microsoft's System Center product line has become a billion-dollar business. To my point about cloud diversity, as we move into 2011, customers are going to be even more vocal about wanting a single management console that can give them the best idea where all their workloads are going, no matter if they're physical, virtual, private cloud, hosted or part of a public cloud.


  • Cost and value will continue to be important: Customers are taking a critical look at the value they're getting for their money:
    • Engineering firm CH2M HILL estimates it will save $3 million over the next three to five years by virtualizing field servers. 
    • German household appliance manufacturer Miele & Cie has saved an estimated $1.8 million U.S. to date by migrating to a Microsoft solution based on Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter with Hyper-V technology - and with the Microsoft System Center data center products, got a single suite of server management tools that provides visibility into the physical server, the operating system, the hypervisor, and the applications layers.

Virtualization alone might save money, but ultimately IT staff will make decisions based on what they need to get the job done right - and in a number of instances, public clouds will be the best fit.


  • Start small - build for the future. . I think perhaps one of the biggest areas we'll see a change of mentality will be in how organizations take that very first step toward cloud computing. In 2011, IT pros and decision-makers will realize cloud computing doesn't have to be all or nothing, and that small projects can provide insightful learning opportunities. Customers like Umbraco, which makes an open-source content management system for websites, used Windows Azure to simplify its solution and expand its customer base with an accelerator that allows existing Umbraco implementations to run in the cloud. Based on those learnings, the company plans to move fully to the cloud. My advice for 2011: identify 1-2 low risk applications that can serve as starter cloud projects, just as test/dev apps were the first workloads people used when first trying virtualization. .


So what does all this mean for the IT professional? In the coming years, your job will change, possibly even more than it already has in 2010. You're still going to be worried about workloads and your employers will still look to you to keep things running. But the interesting, strategic and exciting part is that many of you will start thinking of yourselves as "cloud architects."

My wish - and I'll put this in the "optimistic prediction" category - is that 2011 will be the year IT pros take all the cloud talk from 2010 and create their own cloud plans: walking the cloud walk.

About the Author

David Greschler is director of virtualization and cloud strategy within Microsoft's Server and Tools Business. Greschler is focused on virtualization solutions and systems management tools for the desktop and datacenter.

Greschler came to Microsoft with the July 2006 acquisition of Softricity. Prior to joining Microsoft, Greschler was co-Founder of Softricity, developers of SoftGrid and the originator and leading vendor of the application virtualization industry. With more than 20 years of pioneering experience in the computer field, Greschler has held various positions at the MIT Media Lab and The Computer Museum, and holds numerous virtualization patents. Greschler holds a bachelor's degree from Brandeis University.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Published Wednesday, December 08, 2010 5:00 AM by David Marshall
Windows Virtualization Team Blog - (Author's Link) - December 10, 2010 10:55 AM

My colleague David Greschler wrote a blog post for David Marshall's blog, VM Blog . DavidGr's blog post

Windows Virtualization Team Blog - (Author's Link) - December 10, 2010 11:01 AM

My colleague David Greschler wrote a blog post for David Marshall's blog, VM Blog . DavidGr's

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