The color of your cloud

 The term “cloud” in IT today evokes many responses, feelings and ideas on its purpose, makeup, and overall value to an organization. Some believe “cloud” is exclusive to IT services fully residing in an externally owned and run data center, in which an organization rents resources through an on-demand model. Some people believe cloud to be the creation of IT as a service within the organization with the hopes of creating true utility computing. And some people think cloud is nothing more than hyperbole, clever marketing and vendors trying to hock more of their gear to unsuspecting punters.

I’m here to tell you that in my humble opinion “cloud” is none of this, and all of the above at the same time. Sound contradictory? It is, and isn’t… Confusing? It doesn’t have to be.

To lend credence to my approach at explaining cloud, a bit of a history lesson may be needed (so bear with me). In the heady days when the mainframe ruled the corporate IT landscape, the idea was to provide a centralized computing model that could allocate resources to services as need be. Mainframes provided a stable, highly available and scalable platform that IT could count on to run and support an entire business.  While proprietary, expensive and about as easy to manage as a room of 30 toddler’s is, it provided stability, some flexibility and the needed resources for even the most demanding services that companies required to be competitive.

The industry chugged along, mainframes were the way to go and Unix was king… Then it all changed with the creation of the personal computer [Read more…]

Expanding virtualization into the Cloud: Is it time to pop the question?

Let’s face it. You’ve been spending a lot more time with virtualization lately. You weren’t sure how into it you were when you were first introduced. But be honest, now you’re head over heels. You like the way virtualization helps you reduce waste, outages and labor, how scalable it is, how it makes feel when you maximize operating efficiency and performance – and, of course, the way the cost savings from virtualization make you smile.

The two of you have done a lot of exploring and now virtualization is looking for something more. There’s talk of expanding the relationship, of making it official. You’re dreaming of building your organization with virtualization and living happily ever after in your own private Cloud. But something is holding you back. Is it a fear of commitment?

You’re not alone. Some 65% of organizations are in the exploring state but only 30% have made the move to expanding to the Cloud. Like you, many IT professionals worry about the technical challenges of taking that next step. Will you have a free hand when it comes to moving business applications into the virtual realm? How will upping your organization’s virtualization affect performance? Will you lose control as competing departments flex their muscle and demand dedicated servers? What about organizational issues, procedures, red tape?

In short, what if it’s just one big nightmare and you can’t turn back? [Read more…]