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Data Center Virtualization or Cloud Computing?

Keeping up with the latest IT lingo can be a challenge for just about any IT executive, and understanding the nuances among the terms is even tougher. Let's look at data center virtualization and private clouds as cases in point.
Tom Nolle, principal at IT consultancy CIMI Corp., tells me that a narrow majority of IT managers he's surveyed say they're interested in deploying private clouds, while the rest claim they're doing data center virtualization -- meaning, they're taking simple server virtualization and spreading it out across multiple servers to create a resource pool. "But the whole notion of cloud computing and data center virtualization are really the same," he says.
The resource pool is the point of separation. "In server virtualization, what you're doing is creating a static set of partitions and running applications in them. In cloud computing, in any form, you're creating a dynamic binding between applications and a resource pool," he explains. "As far as I'm concerned, you're talking about server virtualization if it’s running on the server and using something like VMware for that. Something is cloud if it's running across a pool of servers."
Enterprise IT executives must recognize that data center virtualization is really a special case of cloud computing -- meaning, one in which all the resources are in the same data center, Nolle adds.
Enterprise IT executives really best ought to think of the future in terms of a private cloud architecture, he says. "You might elect to start with a cloud architecture in one data center but your basic framework should never be limited to that," he adds.
And that actually is a good test to determine whether you're dealing with the right vendor, Nolle says. If your vendor tells you the only difference between cloud computing and data center virtualization is the geography of the resource pool, he explains, you can rest assured that you're in good hands. If it tries to convince you otherwise, watch out.
Are you in good hands with your virtualization vendor?  Share your story by dropping me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Beth Schultz on 08/19/2009 at 12:49 PM


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