Guest Post by Brett Waldman, Analyst, IDC
Everyone seems be talking about how easy it is to move to the cloud. Using the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) model, it’s a two-step process:
- Create virtual machine (VM) in the cloud
- Install application on VM
Done and done.
Oh wait – what about managing the VM in the cloud? Did the database move with it? Do I need to change the code to reference a different database? What about the data? Now I have to support the cloud application and the legacy application? Is the application supported on the IaaS environment? Do I need a new license for the operating system?
Maybe I declared victory a little too soon. While, yes, it is very easy to get started in the cloud, maybe it’s a little too easy! For most enterprises, there is an extensive business process to go through in procuring a new application. While it can be arduous at times, these processes were actually implemented to control the chaos that can be enterprise IT. But time and again, IT and business owners have found ways around the process to implement disruptive technologies (Linux certainly comes to mind) to get things done. Then over a long period of time, the process would be altered to incorporate these disruptive technologies.
But what if there was a way to incorporate cloud applications into existing processes with very few alterations? That is where software appliances come in.
ISVs or end users can create a software appliance that can be deployed, maintained, and controlled on or off premise using the same tools and processes. Software appliances go beyond the template model to the point where the end user can safely assume it’s the same software regardless of where it is hosted. It’s like the difference between a chef cooking a dozen cakes and a factory doing the same thing with the same recipe. Each individual cake from the chef may look and taste the same, but there are minute differences that could be huge, if, for instance, you have a peanut allergy, while the factory-made cakes are exactly the same to the ounce.
Trying to perfect this factory model, Novell just released an update to the SUSE Appliance Toolkit www.novell.com/toolkit, which includes updates to SUSE Studio Onsite, SUSE Lifecycle Management Server, and WebYast – all tools to create, deploy, and manage software appliances consistently across an array of physical, virtual, and cloud servers. And because the SUSE Appliance Toolkit uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) as the base operating system, any resulting software appliance based on software that is certified on SLES and built with this toolkit, will automatically be certified as well, thus limiting cloud computing to only disrupting costs and not processes. And that is icing on the cake.