Cloud computing Spl: Is sky falling on clouds?

By : |May 29, 2009 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: There’s a lot buzz and hype around cloud computing and its sibling or offspring, whatever we may choose to tag it – virtualization. But is this new era of technology enterprise ready? 

No, not really, says an emphatic analyst, Andi Mann, vice president of research, systems and storage management, Enterprise Management Associates, an IT management research, industry analysis and consulting entity, The CIO considerations are rarely answered to the satisfaction of CIOs looking to run mission-critical workloads, he points out.  

“Scale and migration is not entirely a concern, but security, performance, SLAs, compliance, availability, and manageability, for example, are all under emphasized, and all fail to meet expectations in most (although not all) cloud service implementations, even massive ventures like Google and Amazon.” 

Apart from security, scalability is the second most worrisome criteria for an enterprise that is checking out clouds in its future sky.

Scaling the wall

Many of today’s cloud computing solutions have serious issues, such as proprietary application platforms that require extensive redevelopment time to function off-premise, the inability to move to another provider if SLAs aren’t met, and long lead times to move or set up new environments. The widespread adoption of cloud computing has been hindered by the limitations of these ineffective solutions, admits a candid BS Nagarajan, senior technology consultant, VMware India. He outlines interoperability between compute clouds, lack of compatibility with existing applications, and security as main issues. 

“The absence of standardization across cloud computing platforms creates unnecessary complexity and results in high switching costs. Each compute cloud vendor has different application models, many of which are proprietary, vertically integrated stacks that limit platform choice. Customers don’t want to be locked into a single provider and are often reluctant to relinquish control of their mission-critical applications to service providers,” he explains 

Also, many existing cloud technologies do not provide inherent compatibility with existing applications. Some current compute clouds in the public domain have sacrificed application compatibility in order to provide better scalability and other features. “What this can potentially mean is that IT has to write entirely new applications specific to that compute cloud, or, at the very least, make very significant modifications to their existing applications before they will run in the compute cloud,” opines Nagarajan. 

Prima facie, scalability is not an issue, for Raghuvir Singh Sohal, manager-MIS, Bajaj Auto, who has recently experienced the first phase of virtualization at his organization. The feature on online resource management and distributed resource allocation gives good scalability optimization, but still room for improvement exists, he says, as he describes his recent experience with virtualization at his enterprise. "Specially with the use of one metering to one hardware resource while the platform is spread across multiple hardware."  

But as he assesses virtualization’s score on scalability, he gives it a 9.5. "About the extent of 95 per cent, scalability is not an issue, the rest five per cent still a gap, which I am sure would be worked upon," Sohal shares. 

Vendors, as always show their best card. Sachin Duggal, CEO of Nivio, anothervirtualization player in desktop area, says that in comparison to nearest competition he can boast of 40 times better scalability in terms of number of users. 

Applications consume resources and consolidation rates that denote the number of applications on a single hardware, have further increased, but work is on, answers B S Nagarajan, from VMware. "In vSphere TM4, a lot of attention has been paid to scalability." 

He adds to claim, “VMware vSphere offers scalability services that allow IT to deliver the right amount of resource to every application, based on its need, non disruptively.”  

As to migration issues, Nagarajan says that, the cloud-computing platform of services that are common across all vCloud found both in your datacenter or via third parties enable applications to be migrated with minimal impact. “There will be various ways to migrate applications to the vCloud depending on the nature of the service being provided.” 

At the end of the day, a CIO has to use his own checklist and decide. As to what should he ask, here’s a list of questions from EMA’s analyst Andi Mann. 

Will they provide support to the level required?

Do they have proven stability, and will they retain long-term viability?

Do they have features and capabilities built-in for granular management?

And of course, is the cost going to be good value?

©CyberMedia News

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