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IT Shops Have Cloud Homework To Do

The good news is, many IT departments have in place the resources and infrastructure required to develop enterprise clouds. The bad news is, a lot of their IT counterparts who would presumably like to develop clouds are not yet at the point where they're ready to commit.

That's one scenario discussed in a recent whitepaper from GlassHouse Technologies entitled "The CIO's Guide to Cloud Computing." The whitepaper (which you can sign up to get here) refers to the power of "IT transformation" capabilities as an edge that enterprises who want to deploy private clouds before embracing public clouds can employ. These enterprises can lean back on their experiences with SLAs, demand-forecasting that powers rapid or real-time provisioning, and automated billing/chargeback systems as useful aids to private cloud building.

However, there's homework to be done before putting the cloud pedal to the metal, and it involves understanding end user business requirements, making sure provisioned services are utilized to the max, and figuring out whether to outsource or go with internal services. These are no small tasks.

All this info from GlassHouse is good, but it doesn't squarely address one aspect of cloud computing that's currently holding back implementations: A lot of users aren't worried about marshalling the resources required to develop their clouds as much as they're concerned with keeping the darned things up and running once they're in operation. As it was put to me today by Fortisphere CEO Siki Giunta, "Larger enterprises know what they want, they just worry about mean time to repair."

They may know what they want, but that doesn't change the fact that many of them have grossly over-provisioned their virtual infrastructures, which leads to the dreaded virtual sprawl that's such a curse to companies who want to implement lean, mean cloud machines.

Siki says 2010 will be the year of reckoning for over-provisioned virtual environments, as users finally get serious about digging into who's using -- or not using -- VMs in an effort to streamline virtual infrastructures.

The GlassHouse whitepaper also predicts good cloud things for 2010, calling it "a major year for cloud computing." Well, as major as it can be when 60 percent of surveyed execs state their intentions to implement cloud initiatives during the upcoming year, and the other 40 percent say "No way." Can it really be a major year when such a large group is staying home?

This GlassHouse whitepaper is filled with a lot of interesting stuff, but like so many other cloud reports, it gets squishy when it comes to forecasting the future. However, it nails the situation on the head when it declares, "But for most CIOs, cloud computing is relatively amorphous."

What's the secret to streamlining over-provisioned virtual infrastructures? Please e-mail your comments to me or submit them below.

Correction: In my Dec. 10 blog, "Victory over Virtual Sprawl," I misspelled Embotics. I sincerely apologize to them for this mistake.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 12/15/2009 at 12:48 PM


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