The AWS cloud is here to stay. That’s a fact that is not solely attributable to its famed CTO, Dr. Werner Vogel’s, charisma. It is rather due to AWS creating its own destiny for success. This is thanks to a couple factors in particular, namely, an ideal pace of innovation and a positive and highly innovative product and marketing atmosphere (aka evangelism).
There is no doubt that the cloud put Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, in the position to fill what used to be Apple’s shoes. What is interesting, though, is that he used those shoes to mosey on over to IT’s doorstep.
The 102 year old veteran IT company seems to have taken countless steps toward the development of CloudSmart, the IT giant’s proprietary cloud that, despite its large investments, has not demonstrated any sort of progress… until now, that is. In July, IBM upped its game by announcing its acquisition of Softlayer, an open cloud platform based on both Cloudstack and OpenStack. Although it is being perceived as an enterprise grade IaaS offering, it is still an immature cloud offering. Additionally, IBM cloud marketing guys have been taking the Steve Jobs approach to marketing (against IBM), circa 1984, belittling AWS in every way possible. While IBM benefits greatly from its trusted name, to me, this strike seems a bit old and not relevant anymore, making me question where my trust actually lies.
The cloud market is young, despite AWS’ growth and current worth of a few billion dollars. Most of the enterprise’s IT resources are still hosted on the organizational premise of using VMware hypervisor. The enterprise hybrid cloud challenge is hidden in the cloud utility model’s basic notion of hardware as software, whereas legacy application performance and usages are still based on physical resources capabilities. This difference is the greatest factor when it comes to discussing the evolution pace of the `enterprise grade cloud`. The CIO today is required to show cloud adoption and IT operations’ efficiency. This is consequentially triggering new startups to evolve in efforts to facilitate IT resources to close this existing gap. What follows is a story of such a startup that, in my opinion, has a real chance at becoming a leader in this intermediary cloud adoption phase and the hybrid cloud ultimate enabler, Ravello Systems.
Following several discussions with fellow bloggers and industry executives, I found it quite fitting that the natural cloud leaders are the top software and web giants: Google, Microsoft and Amazon. While Amazon’s AWS is The public cloud today Google recently reported that it is doubling its office space near Seattle, just miles from the campuses of Amazon and Microsoft, in order to expand its cloud technology team and engineers. Over two years prior to these Google’s expansion news, Microsoft reported that 90% of its R&D investment was earmarked for cloud technology. Last month they finally announced that Windows Azure Cloud Services now support auto-scaling. For these reasons and more, the following points will strengthen the trivial perception that cloud technologies should and will prosper in the hands of this software giant trio.
A while back, I was starting up an EC2 instance on the AWS cloud when it entered an endless restart loop. All the application deployment efforts we’d made (installation and service configuration) over two weeks just went down the drain. So we called support. The support rep redirected us to his team leader who simply told us that, as indicated in the SLA, we had to abide by the shared responsibility model and they were not liable for our loss.
The cloud enables great agility and can reduce costs if used right. But does it also manage risk? In fact, the cloud contains the same traditional hosting risks as well as specific related risks to your production environment running on the cloud.
With IaaS dynamic environment you pay only for what you use enabling alignment with actual real-time demand. The cloud instance is a temporary resource that is created from a gold master image automatically and on demand. This basic cloud automation capability makes traditional patching redundant and fast provisioning extremely easy. It is an important consideration that changes some basic security deployment perceptions when moving from traditional infrastructure to the cloud.
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I believe that this is the year when the enterprise will find its way to the cloud.
The mega Internet sites and applications are the new era enterprises. These will become the role models for the traditional enterprise. IT needs remain the same with regards to scale, security, SLA, etc. However, the traditional enterprise CIO has already set the goal for next year: 100% efficiency.
The traditional CIO understands that in order to achieve that goal, IT will need to start and do cloud, make sure that IT resources are utilized right, and that his teams move fast.
The IT capacity plan is derived from the current and future resources utilization for holding, storing and accommodating the software services. It is a given fact that servers’ average utilization in the traditional data center is between 5% and 20%. By contract, when planning capacity in the cloud, the basic working assumption is that, utilization should match the demand at all times and support temporary demand peaks and future trends.
Capacity planning is described by Wikipedia as the
“process of determining the production capacity needed by an organization to meet changing demands for its products.” It is also given by the following formula:
(number of machines or workers) × (number of shifts) × (utilization) × (efficiency)
In his CIO’s article about cloud computing capacity, Bernard Golden wrote,