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Cloud Computing and the Enterprise

By John | February 13, 2008

The more I learn about cloud computing, the more I think that it’s going to affect the enterprise more quickly than most people expect. Some enterprise customers are already working on cloud prototypes, and I recently heard a Forester analyst say that he thought that cloud computing initiatives could affect the enterprise within 2 to 3 years. I have also heard that Google is secretly showing some of the big enterprise customers its infrastructure blueprints.

Enterprise customers should not ignore cloud computing. It has the potential to significantly change IT. Most enterprise organizations look at cloud-based or utility computing as a trend that applies only to the small WEB 2.0 vendors and the small-to-medium business space, but large vendors like IBM, Dell, and Sun are taking strong positions in regards to cloud computing. Prior to 1995, the brick-and-mortar book stores didn’t have mail-order book sellers on their radar. Two years later, they were looking at possible extinction due to Amazon.com. In my opinion, enterprise customers will not be immune to the competitive advantages that cloud or utility-based computing will offer. Banks, insurance, health-care companies, etc. cannot afford to have market myopia. Coming around the bend are companies that will be younger, faster, and global.

Here are some baselines I am creating for following the clouds.

Basic Assumptions

Competitive Features *

Cloud Technologies **

Potential Enterprise “Focused” Cloud Vendors

How to get started

Getting started is easy. For no more than around $100 a month, you can get a basic cloud that could be used for R&D projects, QA and testing, web portals, collaboration and/or best practices. Amazon AWS, Mosso, and Flexiscale are good places to get started. Also, Hadoop is a software technology that can be used as a tool to enable cloud programming. A good example is here.

More cloud talk 

Notes:

* Not all vendors include all of these features.

** Tis is a list of the most prominent technologies being used in “Clouds” today.

Topics: 3tera, amazon, cloud computing, dell, enterprise, ibm, other, virtualization, vmware, xen | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Cloud Computing and the Enterprise”

  1. Berkay Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Did I just get a full feed? excellent :)

    John, “cloud computing” like many other terms in IT is getting polluted rapidly. I already am not sure what it means anymore.

    For example, is it “cloud computing” if corporate IT sets up virtual environment inhouse, say using technologies like 3Tera? or does it have to be somewhere out on the web? I think this is a distinction worth analyzing.

    I see much more possibility for penetration inside corporate walls than outside. Most of the customers I work with are going the opposite direction of using anything in the cloud. Security is the dominant force (admittedly customers I work with are financial institutions and service providers), much more powerful than any cost cutting initiative. We are asked to isolate the systems/applications even from the internal users, etc.

    Are the clouds white or gray :)

  2. John Says:
    February 13th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    I do use FULL FEEDS :)

    I sometimes split my longer articles so that they don’t take up the complete page.

    Great comment…

    Unfortunately “cloud computing” is the best we got for describing this. Kind of like Web 2.0 it becomes a language term that we can all sort-of agree upon to have the discussion.

    IMO, A the holy grail cloud has only two primary characteristics and five secondary add-ons.

    Primary

    1) It uses comodity based hardware as it’s base. Hardware can be replaced at anytime and have no effect on the cloud.
    2) It uses commodity based software containers. For example an image should be able to be pulled from one cloud provider to any other cloud provider.

    Some secondary characteristics are:

    1) Virtualization
    2) Abstraction layer for the hardware, software, and configuration of systems.
    3) Pay as you go with no lock-in
    4) Dynamic horizontal and vertical scaling
    5) Flexible migration and restart capabilities

    Under the primary characteristics in my definition then yes an in-house 3Tera implementaion would be, IMO, a cloud. By definition you could take the 3Tera image and move it to any other commodity hardware infrastructure and it will start right up.

    Thanks
    John

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