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Cloud.com: 2011 - Saying Goodbye to the Cloud Hype

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

Contributed Article By Mark Hinkle, VP of Community, Cloud.com   

2011 - Saying Goodbye to the Cloud Hype

After a year filled with cloud hype, 2011 will start to see a lot of cloud deployments beyond the web-centric application crowd. Cloud computing success stories like those of Twitter, Facebook and Zynga will become more commonplace among the large enterprise. Private, public and especially hybrid cloud computing will start to take hold in the legacy data center as companies strained by a weak global economy will be looking to gain competitive advantages through IT. Virtualization consolidation strategies will start to evolve into cloud computing strategies and as opportunities for upgrades and redeployments arise, the legacy data center will receive a facelift.

Efficiency in Cloud Computing Will Lead to Increased Consumption

Despite increases in efficiency brought on by cloud computing and virtualization, consumption will grow exponentially. The Jevons effect says that technological progress that increases the efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. With continued ease of use for cloud computing championed by Amazon, Rackspace, VMware and other software providers, the cloud market will grow quickly. This will ring true especially in the hybrid cloud segment where cautious adopters will start running their mission critical systems privately and offloading secondary workloads on cloud providers.

Customer Service and Culture Will Circumvent Technology Discussions

While there is still plenty to do in regards to cloud computing technology, the discussions on how to provide customer service around cloud computing and the changes needed to best adapt to these changes will come. Not only will service level agreements (SLAs) be measured by uptime but by the ability for users to get acceptable levels of customer support on their cloud infrastructure. Beyond that, the culture of well-spaced maintenance windows and careful release cycles will start to be replaced by the ideas epitomized by the Web 2.0 crowd, where updates follow a careful process but move at a much quicker pace. Watch the DevOps movement for thought leadership on how developers and IT personnel will combine forces to drive innovation and improve quality of service.

Open Source and Proprietary Source Will Become Even More Intermingled

VMware's purchase of SpringSource in late 2009 was a big move for the proprietary software giant to add open source to its portfolio. The acquisition now forms a crucial building block of its VMware vFabric Cloud Application platform. In 2010 messaging provider Zimbra and RabbitMQ were added to the mix. It's likely that more and more providers will turn to open source projects for critical plumbing and management. Cisco is following suit with its Unified Computing System, which includes a partnership with open source monitoring provider Zenoss for monitoring of its enterprise system. The anticipated success of OpenStack will also set the stage for more blurring of open and proprietary lines.

Degree of Abstraction Will Grow

With Salesforce's acquisition of Heroku for $212 million, it became apparent that there is a lot of value in abstracting the application layer for Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings.  Abstraction will continue to move up the stack. Whereas the hypervisor abstracted hardware and cloud computing (specifically Infrastructure as a Service [IaaS]) abstracted the data center, there will be a growing number of PaaS offerings. Application developers will have more choices to deploy applications via frameworks like Google App Engine, Red Hat's JBoss Operations Network and many more yet to be released. An increase in PaaS also means an increase in infrastructure virtualization, and the breadth and quality of these solutions will grow. Hosting providers will start looking to leverage their IaaS infrastructure in order to deliver PaaS.

Private Cloud Will Take Hold Among Opportunists

There is plenty of opportunity for consolidation in the data center, and as cloud emerges from its infancy legacy data centers will start to reconfigure themselves from virtualized silos to heterogeneous virtualized pools of resources. Those using older hardware (especially processors lacking virtualization technology) will consolidate on Xen hypervisor farms while many leading adopters will look to VMware or KVM hypervisors, depending on their price/performance needs.

Automation, Automation and Automation

Now that the promise of rolling out thousands of servers in minutes has become a reality, tools that facilitate the deployment and management of virtual infrastructure will be widely adopted to prevent bottlenecks. Tools that allow IT personnel to automate builds and unit testing, deployment and overall management will rise in use. For example, Hudson, which recently gained attention from a rift with the Oracle-run Java community, will continue to be adopted to build and test software projects automatically. Other tools from the Kleiner Perkins-backed Puppet Labs and Opscode Chef will enter the toolboxes of systems administrators who need to scale themselves to keep up with the scale of their infrastructure. The need for more granular orchestration tools will grow, and demand for things like runbook and job-scheduling will become apparent.

Scott McNealy Will Join SalesForce, Benioff Will Thumb His Nose at Ellison

In a move to further torment Larry Ellison, Marc Benioff will hire Scott McNealy to run a new venture called Koracle (as in "Kill Oracle") with the motto, "Everything is the Cloud." His job will be to acquire all the disillusioned developers formerly sponsored by Sun/Oracle and create his own dog pound that will build cloud-based offerings based on open source software to erode market share in all of Oracle's most profitable business segments.  Oracle's Mark Hurd will strike back by launching network.com (they got the domain with the Sun acquisition) with endorsement by Al Gore that they did co-create the Internet to counter the effects of Salesforce.com's database.com. Finally, the pair will start a bidding war for Cloud.com just to prove which one really owns the cloud. The winner will adopt the motto "All your bases belong to us," emphasizing their total domination of all network-based services.

Cloud Expertise Will Be at a Premium

Providers of expertise in consolidation and migration of legacy infrastructure to the cloud will be at a premium. While organizations look at their strategic goals enabled by cloud computing, finding experienced, well-qualified resources for virtualization to cloud migrations will be difficult. Many boutique firms like Cloudscaling, DTO Solutions and Hyperstratus will have a shot at huge consulting contracts previously reserved for top-tier services organizations.

Security, Not Scalability, in the Public Cloud Will Become the Dominant Concern

Scalability and high availability issues are well in hand, but concerns about data integrity and security will raise a cottage industry of security projects, including auditing, which will develop to assuage concerns about public cloud deployments. Products that were once deployed in the data center will be retooled to look at vulnerabilities in publicly hosted cloud infrastructure.  Often cited as a concern among users, cloud security will need to have the same rigor applied to the data center to overcome these final objections.

About the Author

Mark is the Vice President of Community where he is responsible for driving all of the community efforts around the company's leading open source, cloud computing software and ecosystem . Before that he was the force behind the Zenoss Core open source management projects adoption and community involvement, growing community membership to over 100,000 members. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium, has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine, and authored the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration." (Thomson, 2006) Mark has also held executive positions at a number of technology start-ups, including Earthlink, (previously MindSpring)--where he was the head of the technical support organization recognized by PC Computing and PC World as the best in the industry--Win4Lin and Emu Software.

Published Thursday, December 16, 2010 6:10 AM by David Marshall
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