Is there more Smoke than Cloud?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

I attend a number of customer meetings and industry conferences, and recently there is a growing sentiment that cloud is more smoke than reality. (Sydney-siders will relate to this, given the smoke in the air yesterday!) What do you think?

I’m sticking to my statement that as soon as a service becomes well defined and understood, if stops being classed as cloud!

Recently a partner of EMC, BlueFire (a Dimension Data company), tripped their infrastructure supporting their backup service. Now they are in the business of providing services and you would imagine that to make a profit they need to match their capacity with their revenue, so I conclude that their Backup as a Service has tripled!

We are seeing similar growth rates with other service partners like Macquarie Telecom and their company ninefold, Telstra, Optus, etc. Who all provide a range of services from fundamental infrastructure to infrastructure services like backup and archive.

So what is missing? I was invited to a lunch by CSC, a CIO lunch, (publication as well as attendee job titles), and as with any gathering of technology folks, the conversation tuned to the cloud. The conversation in the room was confusing, many of the companies  had  adopted ‘services’ for test and development, there was a fair use of SaaS, and a number of the infrastructure services I mentioned above. (In fact timing was great, as one of the attendees, ABB engineering, had just had a case study published in the Australian.) However the feeling was that the cloud was not ready!

Then someone explained that they needed to consolidate and modernise their applications. The penny dropped for me. The market has moved up a layer into the Platform as a Servcie, (PaaS), organisations are looking to develop/re-engineer/consolidate their applications in a ubiquitous, elastic, portable, etc, environment… (Have a look at Cloud Foundry, a vmware open source initiative addressing this issue, www.cloudfoundry.com).  The issue is it’s not as clear cut and mature as they want, and as always there is vendor hype clouding the issue, (sorry). For example Oracle is saying that Fusion will provide this, moving applications between them and Amazon… I’m just not sure two vendor’s makes up an industry! Others are supporting other open-source initiatives, and here lies the problem.. there are too many initiatives. However, it would seem to me that this is the next layer in the virtualised stack and the leader in that space, VMware, has to be the front runner to become the de-factor standard, especially since they are doing this in an open way.

But please look at what is out there and the benefits you can achieve today, rather than buying into the arguments about definitions and don’t become a purists analysing the semantics, many customers are on a journey and realising the cost, functional, operational and security benefits of the different sourcing options available today and this is the next step in the journey.

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