Interoperability To Fuel Converged Cloud Growth
According to cloud computing experts at IEEE, the biggest barrier to cloud services adoption is not cloud security or privacy fears, but concerns about service interoperability.
According to Dr. Alexander Pasik, CIO at IEEE and a former Gartner analyst:
Security is certainly a very important consideration, but it’s not what will inhibit further adoption. To achieve the economies of scale that will make cloud computing successful, common platforms are needed to ensure users can easily navigate between services and applications, regardless of where they’re coming from.
IT decision makers from corporate CIOs to SMB owners want to know that their cloud services—both software and infrastructure—will be able to communicate with one another, and that they will be able to easily migrate from one service to another. They’re also concerned about service integration, cross-platform support and the ability of new cloud solutions to integrate with their existing on-premises infrastructure.
One answer to these concerns is the relatively new field of converged cloud development. Converged cloud goes beyond the traditional hybrid cloud framework by offering IT departments a unified cloud management platform for administering private, public and managed cloud services. For example, the recently launched HP Converged Cloud will include a virtualization service designer that allows IT managers to create and administer private and public SaaS solutions that utilize both public cloud and on-premises data storage.
Bill Veghte, HP’s software chief, is at the forefront of converged cloud development. To put it in his words, “HP Converged Cloud enables enterprises to incorporate a blend of public, private and managed cloud services with their existing IT to create a seamless hybrid environment that rapidly adapts to their changing requirements.”
With HP’s move to converged cloud, they’re shifting the cloud computing focus away from end-user engineers and startups toward a customer set that includes mainstream IT, service providers, non-tech enterprises and ISVs. And, unlike Amazon Web Services, HP plans to include managed cloud services in its catalogue of offerings.
OpenStack, the massively scalable open-source cloud infrastructure operating system, is the platform that makes converged cloud management possible. OpenStack—and possibly similar open-standard projects—will be at the heart of providing converged infrastructure solutions to both enterprises and cloud service providers. Developed by NASA and Rackspace, OpenStack aims to provide any organization with the ability to offer cloud computing services that can run on any hardware and potentially communicate with any other OpenStack-hosted cloud service.
HP isn’t the only company betting on OpenStack’s success. Companies including IBM, Intel, AMD, Cisco, Dell and Red Hat have all invested significant resources in OpenStack. They’re all betting that open standards and transparent service interoperability will be the necessary drivers behind wide-scale enterprise cloud computing adoption.
In a similar push toward open-source cloud solutions, a number of tech giants are also putting their weight behind KVM as the new banner carrier for open hypervisor technology. HP has made KVM central to their converged cloud strategy, and Novell, SUSE, IBM and Cisco all support KVM for open virtualization.
As converged cloud solutions mature, expect to see even stronger cloud computing adoption among enterprises. Converged cloud could even dethrone the industry’s established giants. To compete, Amazon must develop much more robust cloud management and support services, and companies focusing on proprietary solutions—Microsoft and VMWare, for example—will need to embrace the open-source movement. Only time will tell whether these giants are nimble enough to adapt.
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By Joseph Walker
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