Virtualization Technology News and Information
Virtustream: 2011 Predictions

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

Contributed Article By Sean Jennings, VP Solutions Architecture, Virtustream   

2011 Predictions

Expect additional clarity on new buzz-words within cloud computing in 2011, as key terms used by various vendors today will be better defined to show the true enterprise benefits by cloud deployments already in practice.

Few technological shifts have created as much debate about definitions as cloud computing. When the deployment model first entered into the IT lexicon, the debate surrounded cloud computing itself. Did we mean software as a service? Does SOA qualify, or is this a new term for web services?  Cloud computing is the process by which shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices on demand.  It is a natural evolution of the widespread adoption of virtualization, service-oriented architecture and utility computing. Late last year, more and more industry leaders adopted three separate terms-software as a service, platform as a service and infrastructure as a service.  Amazingly, each had a fairly consistent definition, and all involve infrastructure that is virtual, multi-tenanted, private or a hybrid of the two, and available via some sort of flexible billing method.

Developments in the past twelve months by cloud computing pioneers, such as Virtustream, point to an emerging new set of debates regarding specific cloud computing terms. In 2011, as more companies adopt cloud computing and the benefits of the deployment model are realized, the definitions of the following terms will solidify:                                                             

Private cloud- In order for enterprises to adopt cloud computing and realize its benefits, data center and system administrators at global corporations, who manage complex IT environments, need to reassure the security, elasticity and availability of infrastructure on demand. As evidenced by a recent Virtustream xStream cloud deployment for Domino Foods, no longer does a company have to deploy and manage its own private cloud to get these reassurances. Expect a rise in enterprise cloud adoption in 2011 with the emergence of private clouds within a multi-tenant environment. This model delivers the security and performance attributes of a private cloud with the elasticity and economics of a public cloud.

Assessing the best technologies for a cloud environment is best left to those service providers who have been testing them for years. No individual company should have to go through the laborious process of deploying an internal cloud when these service providers have already done all the heavy lifting. In 2011, more and more companies will partner with cloud vendors to host their own private clouds.

Forrester's James Staten is among those recognizing this trend. In his own blog post regarding 2011 predictions posted in mid-November, Staten opined that hosted private clouds will outnumber internal clouds 3:1. As noted above, companies will also investigate internal clouds, but fundamentally Staten is right in the definition shift-"private" now means the cloud can be managed through and hosted by a third-party provider.

Utility billing-The cloud computing industry today understands that the benefits of cloud computing are far more game changing than virtualization. Optimizing resources based on workload is at least a few steps beyond merely making a machine virtual-though the virtual nature of the environment is vital. At Virtustream, we have translated the workload advantages of a cloud environment to our billing model, which charges by "infrastructure unit" instead of charging by the number of specific virtual machines being utilized, or any of a host of other measurement methods.

In 2011, the "infrastructure unit" will become the real utility billing method for cloud computing, much like an electrical company has its own "units" by which it charges customers each and every month. The gold at the end of the rainbow for cloud computing has long been true consumption-based pricing Treating cloud computing like a real utility requires charging by compute units and, in this way, determining a standard way of billing across the industry.

Those involved in real-world deployments of cloud environments are enthused by the emerging definitions within the market, some of which are outlined above. We are cognizant that these discussions might create confusion. But the settlement of definitions for SaaS, IaaS and PaaS in 2009 shows us that we can come to conclusions regarding key definitions. As the definitions of the terms outlined above emerge in 2011, it's important that they reflect real business benefits aligning with customer needs and results.

About the Author

Sean Jennings, Vice President, Solutions Architecture, Virtustream

Sean Jennings has over 20 years of experience enabling commercial and government enterprises of all sizes gain efficiencies and competitive advantage through the design and deployment of creative, forward looking IT solutions. Sean Jennings has been at the vanguard of the migration to commodity platforms throughout his career, designing solutions around and earning numerous certifications from industry leaders Novell, Microsoft, EMC, HP/Compaq/DEC, Checkpoint, and VMware long before they became fashionable.

Sean began his career as a programmer for Control Data, before transitioning into systems management and architecture on VAX and x86 platforms as a Senior Systems Engineer for Funds Associates Limited and PNC Bank. He was the Microsoft Systems Practice Manager for Virtualogic, a leading systems integrator in the x86 space, now a part of EDS. He was also a Systems Architect and Vice President for National Cooperative Bank with responsibility for Disaster Recovery of x86 systems, Solaris, and AS/400. In 2001, Sean co-founded Brigh Technologies, Inc., with Matt Theurer. Brigh Technologies was a thought leader in the application of Virtualization solutions and one of VMware's first consulting services partners.

Published Wednesday, December 15, 2010 5:15 AM by David Marshall
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