Virtualization Technology News and Information
ExtraHop 2015 Predictions: Public Cloud Gets its Act Together


Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2015.  Read them in this series exclusive.

Contributed article by Jesse Rothstein, CEO and co-founder of ExtraHop

Public Cloud Gets its Act Together

As Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure have made abundantly apparent, public cloud IaaS has huge advantages. Massive scalability and elasticity, the ability to shift infrastructure costs from capital expenses to operational expenses, and great economies of scale are just a few of the major advantages of public cloud; however, public cloud has still lagged behind physical networking in a few key areas, including management and monitoring. In the public cloud, there is no NetFlow or sFlow or even a close equivalent. This leaves enterprises with little ability to monitor network traffic within the cloud, and thus little visibility into local cloud-based services.

This is about to change. In 2015, virtual networking and the cloud will really start to catch up to physical networking. Over the past few years, AWS has already made some major strides with Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), but this year, expect to see management and monitoring become a top priority for both AWS and Azure as they compete to woo enterprise customers. Both AWS and Azure recognize that their market opportunity for large-scale deployments is limited until they can provide monitoring and management capabilities comparable to physical networks. With both giants competing for market share, don't be surprised to see new capabilities develop quickly over the next 12 months.

Private Cloud, not so much...

Despite the incredible hype around public cloud, it is dwarfed by the market opportunity in private cloud. Every large enterprise IT organization would love to run a private cloud with the ability to seamlessly provision VMs. Unfortunately, the solutions available on the market today still have a long way to go until they are ready for widespread adoption.

Part of the challenge is market fragmentation. The different approaches - from OpenStack, to Eucalyptus (acquired by HP), to Cisco UCS, Azure-in-a-Box, and VMware - have created confusion among enterprise customers and have made it nearly impossible to establish broad industry standards. The different offerings themselves are often difficult to implement as well.

While OpenStack may be the closest thing private cloud has to an industry trade group, the vendors within this ecosystem often come to the table with competing goals and priorities, slowing down progress and creating friction. Openstack is also notoriously difficult to stand up, and requires highly capable engineers to deploy and maintain it. In today's job market, that kind of skilled labor comes with a hefty price tag. Documentation and implementation also remain problematic. Most components are pluggable, but some combinations are incompatible, and some are better documented than others. In some cases, the documentation is little better than a direction to read the code. Another open-source offering, Eucalyptus (recently acquired by HP), avoids the pitfalls of having competitive vendors contributing solutions by having most offerings come from a single vendor. While this has its advantages, it also slows the pace of innovation. 

Unlike OpenStack, VMware offers a single vendor solution, which has its advantages. When something goes wrong, there is someone to blame. But it also has its share of challenges. For one, it's expensive. Also, it's difficult to install and maintain. And while it offers OpenStack compatibility, the result of this seems to be mixing the high capex cost of OpenStack (thanks to the human capital investment it requires) with the high opex cost of VMware. 

Other vendors have similar challenges, and sadly it seems unlikely that this is going to change any time soon, certainly not in 2015. The private cloud market opportunity is vast. The players in this space need to take a page out of AWS' and Azure's books and focus on making private cloud far more user-friendly.


About the Author

Jesse Rothstein is the CEO and co-founder of ExtraHop, the global leader in real-time wire data analytics for IT intelligence and business operations. 

Published Thursday, December 18, 2014 6:44 AM by David Marshall
@VMblog - (Author's Link) - February 10, 2015 6:57 AM

Once again, how great is it to be a part of the virtualization and cloud industries? 2014 was another banner year, and we witnessed a number of fantastic technologies take shape and skyrocket. And I, along with many industry experts and executives, media

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