The VM World Conference was held this week in San Francisco where as you would expect, it was all cloud all the time. It’s hard to gauge any technology based on the discussions of the true believers, especially when it’s wrapped in the context of a huge marketing party, but if you listen to VMware CEO Paul Martiz, you can begin to see some broad themes.
Maritz, not surprisingly was touting the idea of ‘IT as Service.’ Those of you who don’t like the term ‘private cloud,’ may like this even less, but it goes a long way toward defining the idea of setting up a private cloud environment inside a company that works in a very similar fashion to the way we are used to interacting with consumer public cloud services. Google is a good example of this.
Instead of opening Google, your users will open a web page where they will find a menu of pre-defined services. The idea is to create a set of easily repeatable services with little or no customization options. (If a user requires something outside the normal set of services, that would require IT to provide additional consulting/programming/implementation services.)
Of course part of the equation is automation,which allows for fast, efficient service delivery. When you provide these services, they have to be simple and automatic and provide what the user needs quickly. This means the systems have to be automated to deal with these requests. We are talking about having results in minutes instead of days, weeks or even months.
This needs to operate like a consumer service. You go on the site, you expect it to work (at least, most of the time). Your internal consumers are going to demand the same type of responsiveness. VMware believes it has the tools and platform to help you deliver these types of services.
Maritz also spoke of a hybrid cloud. That means you’ll share services insides and outside the organization. For instance, you might use Salesforce.com for your CRM and Amazon S3 for some storage, but you might have other data and applications you prefer to keep behind the firewall. In Maritz’s dreams of course, everyone uses VMware tools.
The sheer number of people attending this conference this year suggest a growing interest in the cloud. According to Network World, 17,021 people visited this year, a leap of over 4500 new attendees including 4000 who were attending for the first time.
These numbers truly tell a tale of growing interest in the Cloud that’s more than a passing curiosity. Of course, when you’re preaching to the converted, it’s a fairly easy sell. From what I’ve seen from some of the comments on this blog, some of you may be a bit harder to convince, but if you can truly achieve the economies of scale, elasticity and service response time that’s promised by the hype, it has be at least worth a look to even the most curmudgeonly of you.