What Being 'In the Cloud' Means -- And What It Doesn't
It's not a free pass to ignore or minimize datacenter operations.
- By Dan Kusnetzky
I've been watching a trend emerge, and while it's not at all surprising, I believe it's important. Vendors involved in all sorts of virtualization -- management, monitoring, automation, networking, storage and backup/recovery/disaster recovery -- are all adding support for cloud services. The most likely targets are AWS, Azure, OpenStack and, depending upon the supplier, cloud services from RackSpace, Google and a few others.
This move to support major cloud computing platforms is expected. Every supplier wants to let the market know that 1) they're on top of emerging and leading trends, 2) they're in a leadership position, even though many others have already launched products, and 3) enterprises can expect great savings as they move some or all their workloads into datacenters owned and managed by service suppliers.
As suppliers make their products available, the jump to the cloud appears ever more enticing to companies of all sizes. They have visions of increased flexibility, lower costs and the ability to reduce or eliminate the need for many type of expertise and experience from their IT staff roster.
Dan's Take: The Enterprise Is Still Responsible
Some companies believe that moving some or all their workloads into the cloud relieves them of responsibility for many issues, including performance and application monitoring.
If nothing else, enterprises need to be able to see what's happening, so they can communicate clearly what's happening to the service suppliers' support people. That means they need to be able to tell support something more meaningful than "it's slow" or "it's broken."
Many suppliers are offering tools designed to discover what's happening by examining all aspects of performance; analyzing that data; then reporting back to the enterprise's IT department in an easy-to-use dashboard.
As companies subscribing to these IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services begin to build their own procedures on these foundations, it's important to have monitoring and management tools designed to see what's happening inside those platforms and help them be a real tool for business. That means making it possible for an organization's IT staff to be the first line of support.
To reiterate: Having a cloud presence doesn't mean all a businesses' IT worries are over. In one way, it's simply shifted, in this case to the cloud. It will often be critical in this new era to have data to convince the cloud supplier's help desk staff that the problem is real and not a result of customer error.
Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.