To the Cloud?

By Kent Christensen
4/11/2011

At a recent Gartner-sponsored data center conference, CIOs named cloud computing as their #1 initiative (surpassing virtualization). Cloud, the next evolution of data center virtualization, is a broad subject with nearly everyone offering some form of cloud services. Across the country, cloud computing is at the forefront of many of the conversations we’re having with IT organizations.

As such, we at Datalink are launching a series of posts on virtualization and cloud computing. This might seem ambitious because cloud can be a pretty broad subject. Seems these days everyone has a cloud to solve just about any known issue including getting your family picture to align with your hopes and aspirations. Or watching a movie in an airport?

Questions abound.

So how does cloud computing help when you are running an enterprise data center? Can cloud help lower operating costs, reduce power utilization, standardize offerings, and increase agility to lines of business? Does the public cloud meet your SLAs and actually reduce costs? What type of services are being offered in public cloud offerings? What can you do with your existing IT infrastructure (a private cloud)? How can we build a hybrid solution leveraging the best of each? Should you build a private internal cloud to leverage existing resources? Do you even need or want a cloud? These are some of the questions we will address in our future posts in this blog.

First things, first. Let’s define enterprise clouds: private, public and hybrid. Briefly, public cloud offerings provide "pure" cloud services where you don't own the infrastructure required to run an application. This can be generic IT infrastructure (or Infrastructure-as-a-Service), platform centric offerings for specific applications (Platform-as-a-Service), or hosted software offerings (Software-as-a-Service). A private cloud leverages your infrastructure to provide "cloud-like" services to the lines of business within your organization. This is the most realistic approach to start with today. Finally a hybrid cloud or virtual private cloud starts to leverage a combination of private and public cloud services allowing you to deliver IT-as-a-Service backed by both internal and external infrastructure.  Check out my short video for a bit more detail.

In the near future we will include posts on what services are best suited for cloud, how to build internal private clouds, and best practices for adopting cloud computing into the data center. Feedback and comments are always welcome.