August 30, 2010
The concept of private clouds is gaining traction and due to the buzz, more enterprises are taking a much closer look at the possibility—if they haven’t taken steps to virtualize some or all of their infrastructure already. For those who have not yet made the transition, a lack of understanding of the complex process behind private cloud implementation is at the core of hesitancy, therefore vendors are looking for ways to convince users to fear not, the private cloud is not only within reach—but simple to step into.
The much-hyped “ease of entry” into the private cloud sphere via a readymade “solution” may or may not be a reality, depending on the needs of the organization but it is simply not true that a private cloud can be production-ready in minutes, no matter what kind of box vendors suggest they have ready. Also, it stands to reason that the depth and scope of the workloads that will be running in such an environment, not to mention a wealth of other challenges brought about by migration are overlooked when the idea of private cloud is presented as an “out of the box solution” that can be spun up and ready to handle HPC applications in an afternoon.
Opening the Box
One of the barriers to cloud adoption, be it public or private, is getting enterprises to walk to the plank to the cloud. In other words, some vendors have implied that the barrier lies in convincing companies who are hesitant about adopting the new model that once they make that leap of faith, the water will be just fine.
Part of the reason this is a tough sell is because the cloud is not a fully trusted paradigm for those with big data and even bigger security concerns, but the other half of the equation is that many simply aren’t aware of just how big the shock will be after the jump.
Quite simply put, there are several enterprises of all sizes scrambling to the cloud because they’ve been told their competitive edge might lie in making the Great Cloud Shift, but when it comes to actually making it happen, there is a great deal of confusion and internal chaos.
Confusion? Chaos? Sentiments expressing a distinct hope that every aspect of a major IT headache can be mitigated and handled by someone else? This is music to many a vendor’s ears.
After all, by providing a one-stop solution (or at least the appearance of one) they can ensure they will be responsible for the entire cloud lifecycle. What this means for the end user, however, is that they are entrusting this all-important cycle to one vendor, which in turn means they risk the possibility of vendor lock-in—an underrated, serious woe for enterprise cloud adopters if they have the misfortune of deciding they’d like to take their ball and go play somewhere else.
Migrating to a public, private or hybrid cloud solution is not a simple, overnight process but what seems to make this a little less frightening is the concept of a “cloud in a box” solution that simplifies migration, making it as hands-free and mess-free as possible.
What Do You Mean I Can’t Have it Now?
In the era when everything-as-a-service is the growing norm, where one click and a credit card can allow provisioning of just about anything an enterprise needs, it might feel a little wrong that private clouds can’t be deployed without much effort—that jumping into a hybrid or public cloud scenario shouldn’t be a few simple steps away.
Vendors are realizing that this is the dream for companies that are wary of the plank and even more so of the mysterious sea below and are coming up with some creative ways to create products that look, for all intents and purposes, like off-the-shelf solutions making cloud adoption simple—D.I.Y. even. What this means is that there are likely to be an increasing number of products that are heavily marketed toward those who have heard all about the wonders of the cloud yet have no idea where to start.
Dave Bartoletti, Senior Analyst at the Taneja Group noted (albeit in a release touting the latest private cloud in a box solution) that “although comfort levels are rising an barriers to adoption are lowering, customers remain confused by the myriad solutions that claim to enable private clouds. Often, private cloud projects are complicated by a surplus of technologies and a lack of packaged solutions.” Accordingly, he speculates that any vendor able to take proven products, put them together in a nice, neat package “for rapid deployment, analysis and evaluation—will be the most attractive to customers who want to leverage their existing infrastructure to quickly prove the benefits of private cloud.”
The Ecosystem or the Monolith?
This week at VMworld, three companies, all players in the cloud space (rPath, Eucalyptus, and newScale) partnered with MomentumSI to help companies build private clouds. Their approach is similar to other companies who offer what appears from the outside to be a “total cloud solution” package, but it eliminates the fear of vendor lock-in and is build based on an “ecosystem approach” versus acquiring the same service from one vendor only. What this means for customers as well is that they can have one billing model to deal with as before, if they chose to pick and choose among vendors for various pieces of their cloud puzzle, the management situation on that front might have become a major hassle.
What this also means is that enterprises wary of both the implementation and the fear that they would be locked into a one-size-fits all “solution” that might not be worth the effort have more control and customization opportunities. While there can be some level of customization for those who take the one-vendor approach, the open-ended portability makes this particularly appealing and might signal a new wave of partnerships based on the ecosystem versus the monolithic model.
This is what the companies are calling a “self-service” cloud with Eucalyptus picking up the reigns on the scalable infrastructure end, newScale driving provisioning of on-demand resources and policy and billing management and rPath handling the system automation and maintenance. MomentumSI, a company that has a much lower profile than the triad of cloud firms, gets the ball rolling on the implementation end.
As Dana Gardner noted, “The technology value triumvirate of newScale, rPat and Eucalyptus—with solution practice experience of MomentumSI—is an excellent example of the ecosystem approach most likely to become the way that private cloud models actually work for enterprises for the next few years.”
The alternative to the ecosystem approach is using one of the many “out of the box” private cloud products marketed by any number of vendors—which means, of course, not the risk of importability. Is the ecosystems approach the only way for an enterprise to responsibly approach this issue, living as we do in the era of interoperability crisis?
Absolutions and Solutions
If you spend enough time reading vendor news, it becomes clear that one of the most frequently overused words is “solutions.” Agreed, “products” sounds stiff and bland and “offering” doesn’t quite do the trick either. But the problem with everything cloud-related being tagged as a solution is problematic for the causal vendor news browser considering clouds because it makes it seem like there is a one-size-fits-all solution for just about everything.
Any enterprise or R&D shop who has virtualized some or all of its infrastructure knows quite well that this is a myth and if that outfit is wise enough, it also sees that by taking one solution that handles all of the other collections of needs for related solutions—then neatly packages this all together as one whole, integrated cloud in a box solution—there could be some big trouble with portability, among other concerns.
Can there be some agreement that for now, just until the cloud has significant time to mature, there will never be a total cloud solution?. There might be something like this for small business users someday; a true out of the box cloud solution—but when we start upping the scale, this becomes far less the case.
May 23, 2013 |
The study of climate change is one of those scientific problems where it is almost essential to model the entire Earth to attain accurate results and make worthwhile predictions. In an attempt to make climate science more accessible to smaller research facilities, NASA introduced what they call ‘Climate in a Box,’ a system they note acts as a desktop supercomputer.
May 16, 2013 |
When it comes to cloud, long distances mean unacceptably high latencies. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany examined those latency issues of doing CFD modeling in the cloud by utilizing a common CFD and its utilization in HPC instance types including both CPU and GPU cores of Amazon EC2.
05/10/2013 | Cleversafe, Cray, DDN, NetApp, & Panasas | From Wall Street to Hollywood, drug discovery to homeland security, companies and organizations of all sizes and stripes are coming face to face with the challenges – and opportunities – afforded by Big Data. Before anyone can utilize these extraordinary data repositories, however, they must first harness and manage their data stores, and do so utilizing technologies that underscore affordability, security, and scalability.
04/02/2012 | AMD | Developers today are just beginning to explore the potential of heterogeneous computing, but the potential for this new paradigm is huge. This brief article reviews how the technology might impact a range of application development areas, including client experiences and cloud-based data management. As platforms like OpenCL continue to evolve, the benefits of heterogeneous computing will become even more accessible. Use this quick article to jump-start your own thinking on heterogeneous computing.