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Cloud Computing – Disrupting Costs and Nothing Else



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October 5, 2010 12:15 pm

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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:

  1. Create virtual machine (VM) in the cloud
  2. 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.

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2 Comments

  1. By:FlyingGuy

    Get Serious!

    NOTHING is perfectly turn-key, I don’t care what you build it on, Windows, OSX, Linux or Unix.

    Moving ANYTHING to the “Cloud” will be disruptive and it will cost twice as much as anyone thinks it will and it will take twice as long.

    Those are IT axioms from WAY back, and guess what they haven’t changed nor are they likely to change in the near future.

    I have a custom fat client interface to an Oracle Database that is serving or sales needs. A direct cloud based replacement does not exist period end of statement.

    Want to move it to Sales Force, sure, it will take a year of SF consultants and data uploads that have to be tried over and over again. Why? Well because Sales Force has a particular architecture that matches nothing in the wild, it only matches itself. Your data will have to be massaged and converted to transfer over to sales force and there wont be a “Best Fit” match it will be a Force Fit match and that will cost you a bundle.

    I love the way people at IDC and other factories of pundocrasy speak as if all this is Magic and that suddenly every desktop app I use will somehow automatically become and app on some server in la la land that never hangs, never has a glitch and always has 5 nines of uptime because some company leased a big chunk of storage space from Amazon!

    If you want to say how wonderful the “Cloud” is then start speaking in REAL terms with REAL world outcomes. Until then please have the decency to label your article what it really is, “Smoke and Mirrors”.

  2. By:thomas7613

    I totally agree with you. Here in Germany there is a big advertising campaign of microsoft where “everyone” moves his / her data to the cloud. In Germany there are always a lot of discussings about privacy protection. If you move all your private data to someone else storage, you lose control over data and over the use of it. Some else can search and personalize your stored data and create profiles about your behaviour and habits. I don’t think that this is a thing that can be disregarded.

    Thomas

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