Wingspan

Shooting for the Moon with Virtual Data Centers

by John.McHugh on ‎11-03-2010 12:58 PM (271 Views)

I've been outspoken and somewhat controversial in making some strong statements about cloud adoption, specifically highlighting some of the fundamental impediments that exist. The problem with cloud adoption, in the most generic sense, is that some of the various forms of deployment are in fact steps in a 10-year long process. Today people believe that when they go and get something like Salesforce.com that they are implementing cloud functionality. They may very well be, but it’s the most rudimentary form of cloud economics.

The strongest point I would like to make is that the end point, the true hybrid cloud, and the ultimate value to end customers and IT departments is to fully virtualize the data center, an opinion that others share. Another way to think about it is to be able to do a make vs. buy deployment decision with no constraints on information management, vendor selection, or the ability to assert whatever service level or quality of service condition desired. And frankly we're just a long way from being able to achieve that kind of state of nirvana – a true hybrid cloud.

I think what we will see happen over the next five years is that virtualization is really the first step. A good analogy would be all the steps involved in planning the first lunar landing. That too was about 10-year process starting with President Kennedy’s historic challenge. The first thing someone needs to do is build a launching pad. And the description of how I would characterize that launching pad is virtualizing your existing data center first. The applications that exist in most data centers today are not highly mobile or easily deployed in cloud environments. And so as people are looking at data center consolidation and convergence and trying to deploy various virtualization environments – whether it’s VMware, Hyper-V, Xen or any other architecture –  they are building a launching pad. They are figuring out how to take all of their applications and put them into a mode whether they can be either hosted locally or they can be hosted out in the cloud once the information security and protecting intellectual assets are addressed.

As IT teams begin to virtualize applications, what they are finding is that things that seem like they were never a problem in the past – network flexibility, performance, scale – have now have become significant issues. Additionally, IT teams have to grapple with important matters such as business processes, existing service level agreements and project prioritization. Many of these IT organizations are discovering that the data center infrastructure they deployed over the past 10 to 15 years is no longer sufficient or really appropriate to handle the environment that they're deploying with virtualization.

On Nov. 15 Brocade is going to announce the first Ethernet fabric that was designed from the ground up to enable large-scale virtualization and virtual machine mobility. And that will include functionality which we call Virtual Cluster Switching (VCS) technology. This is really the first opportunity customers are going to have to be able to deploy an architecture that vastly simplifies their existing data center while fitting easily within their existing cost and complexity expectations. We're effectively redefining the landscape and accelerating the adoption of virtualization across the industry.

One small step toward the true hybrid cloud, a giant leap for highly virtualized data centers.