Doug on Cloud

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CTOs Cop to Cloud Concerns

Top technical execs from six cloud and virtualization vendors talked to Virtualization Review Editor in Chief Bruce Hoard about what it'll take to get the cloud to really take off.

Virsto CTO Alex Miroshnichenko was first up. Miroshnichenko thinks one issue is the term "cloud" itself. He argues that the lack of a standard definition is one impediment. He also sees IT's nervousness about cloud security as another major stumbling block, though Miroshnichenko thinks this is more paranoia than reality. There is one other issue the cloud needs to deal with, he says: Storage hasn't kept pace with cloud apps and services. For now, high-end storage is simply too expensive.

AppSense VP of Technology Simon Rust feels the weak point is the number of applications on the market. According to Rust's math, IT shops tend to have one app for every 10 employees, so a 1,000-person shop has 100 apps and a 10,000-person shop has 1,000. Precious few of these apps run on the cloud these days. And many on-premise applications, particularly those that are transaction- or graphics-intensive, may never run well on the cloud. Lack of WAN and Internet bandwidth is one more concern for Rust. If the app is too slow, users will rebel.

Veeam Senior Director Doug Hazelman believes that not all in IT have come to grips with how to manage apps running on virtual servers, a very different scenario than dedicated boxes. One problem is that many in IT have consolidated servers, but kept the same number of operating system apps that still need to be managed. And like Miroshnichenko, Hazelman laments the lack of a standard definition of cloud computing.

Kaviza COO Krishna Subramanian has a different view, and doesn't see security as a big barrier. That's because IT is not yet committing their truly critical apps to the cloud, so security is not paramount. For Subramanian, IT is more interested in business as usual and the status quo than making a big cloud. And with tight budgets, myriad projects and computers that just love to break down, this makes a lot of sense. Subramanian suggests making the cloud move one step at a time -- baby steps, even.

F5 Networks CTO Karl Triebes, as a networking vendor, sees bandwidth and app performance as key concerns. Performance can already be an issue in virtual server environments; that's why the most compute-intensive apps are the last to go virtual. The same theory rings true for the cloud where the WAN is the gating factor.

Finally, Liquidware Labs CTO Jason Mattox weighed in, believing that "management challenges" are the real problem. For many, virtualization was so easy that IT went overboard with VMs everywhere -- but didn't add enough management infrastructure. And this is not just for the virtualized servers, but the attendant storage and backup, as well.

Is anything holding you back from the cloud? Let me know at dbarney@redmondmag.com, and check out Bruce's interviews with these CTOs here.

Posted by Doug Barney on 02/21/2012 at 12:47 PM


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