Welcome!

GovIT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Wallace Sann, Kevin Jackson, Bob Gourley

Related Topics: Virtualization, Cloud Expo

Virtualization: Article

The Benefits of Virtualization and Cloud Computing

Whether you’re an enterprise or small to medium business, you’ll soon be benefiting from the cloud

What’s all the buzz about? Cloud computing is one of Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2009 – #2, right behind virtualization. Analysts say the economics of cloud for customers are truly compelling, with expected savings for business applications of 3-5x. That’s not chump change – particularly in today’s recessionary economy.

But the most compelling benefits of the cloud aren't just cost-savings. They're the increased flexibility, elasticity and scalability available to optimize efficiency and best serve the needs of the business.

What is Cloud Computing
Whether you're an enterprise or small to medium business, you'll soon be benefiting from the cloud.  But what is cloud computing exactly?

Cloud computing is essentially the ability to acquire or deliver a resource on demand, configured however the users chooses, and paid for according to consumption.  From a supplier's perspective, including both internal IT groups and service providers, it means being able to deliver and manage resource pools and applications in a multi-tenancy environment, to deliver the user an on-demand, pay-per-use service. A cloud service can be infrastructure for hosting applications or data storage, a development platform, or even an application that you can get on-demand, either off-site at a provider, such as SunGard or Salesforce, or built onsite within IT.

It's important to note that while many view cloud computing as services consumed externally, innovative CIOs have taken the steps to transform their IT groups into internal service providers.  This strategic shift gives them control and accountability for usage and resources, while providing a dynamic, self service model to accommodate the needs and SLAs required by the business units.  To see how one enterprise did this, you can view their video story online at: www.vmware.com/cloud.

For those of us who remember the good old dot com days, before the bust, we saw the concept of hosted services emerge.  Everyone jumped on the ASP, ISP, MSP (application service provider, internet service provider, managed service provider, respectively) bandwagons and built offerings to deliver online services or variants thereof, such as on-demand software and software-as-a-service (SaaS).

Remembering back to the xSP days, however, we must also remember that there were issues with the services hosting model. One issue was that few were comfortable with the concept of having their information hosted outside of their immediate control, as well as the fear of being locked into a relationship with particular vendors.

So, as the new concept of the cloud emerges, many are asking how it's different this time around and what should we expect?   Unlike those previous hosting models, we see well-established companies diversifying their business models to offer new services, based on established core competencies. This fundamental difference will help shape and stabilize the new concept of the cloud.

VMware CTO Steve Herrod keynoting SYS-CON's 3rd Virtualization Conference & Expo in New York. Read an Exclusive Q&A wth Herrod here.

But even more importantly, we have seen new technologies evolve over the past decade that are essential to the notion of the cloud.  The key technology is virtualization. In addition to some amazing cost savings and goodness for the environment, virtualization's ability to separate the OS and application from the hardware give it ideal properties to best deliver these on-demand cloud services. Charles King, Principal Analyst at Pund-IT put it succinctly: "Without virtualization there is no cloud- that's what enabled the emergence of this new, sustainable industry."

Challenges of the cloud
Today, new and established vendors are vying to deliver cloud services.  The challenge for users becomes choosing the right offering.  Many of the offerings are really designed to encourage development on the vendor's proprietary platform, limiting switching abilities and propagating the offering through applications built for the external cloud only.  This is appealing to the development community as it enables quick access to infrastructure and development platforms on which to create a cloud application.  But this can become a nightmare for IT when the application has to come back into the enterprise for production-level support, as well as dealing with SOX and IP risks. The viability of this solution is potentially the unearthing of a more significant problem, the inability of IT to deliver infrastructure on demand to meet the dynamic needs of these groups.  However in many cases, unless you're building an application from scratch, most businesses don't have the time or resources to rewrite their production applications to work in the cloud on a proprietary platform.

Users should choose a cloud strategy that enables the fastest development time for new applications, with the broadest support for various OSs and development environments, as well as the ability to support production-level applications on- and off-premise as needed.

The other challenge is mobility and choice in location for running applications, internally in a private cloud or externally in a public cloud.  Another approach we see in the market is the "superstore phenomenon." Organizations such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google all plan to battle it out over whose superstore datacenter will be the place your developers will build and house their cloud applications. It is true that these are all stable brands and their infrastructure will likely be a safe place to run your applications; however, in the event of outages, downtime and the inability to access your applications, what options will you have? Additionally, how will you manage these instances, where they live long term and what risks will be imposed by keeping them off site?  Users should be able to move their applications at will from one cloud to another, whether internally or externally.

Obviously, the encapsulation offered in virtualization and the mobility found in technology like VMware VMotion - which enables a live virtual machine to be moved with no downtime for the application - increase a user's ability to move virtual machines as needed. VMware's approach to the cloud is not about vendor lock-in , but is about enabling its ecosystem of partners to build and deliver services on a common platform, allowing users to simplify the federation of clouds, on or off premise as needed, to a broad base of service providers.

Lastly, you'll want to look at innovation and stability in providing the technology to leverage your virtualization investments into internal or external cloud options. If your production environments are running on VMware and you chose that platform due to the robust innovation cycles, reliability and technology advancements offered today, you want nothing less in a cloud services provider off-premise.  Say you want to establish a relationship with a service provider to offer some flex capacity at the end of the quarter for financial reporting activities.  You'll still want the reliability of your production system, control of that environment and the ability to move your VMs when and where you want. Also, as you build your internal clouds, look for vendors that are building for the future and whatever new technologies and application infrastructures might come along, visionary vendors that are future-proofed for new trends and have proven that they can deliver technology innovation in a timely manner.

Why does virtualization matter when building or selecting cloud services/vendors?
Clearly, there's a new trend emerging with lots of options, but also many challenges that could cost big money to reverse. How does virtualization address these challenges and allow a seamless transition to a cloud strategy, either on- or off-premise?

As mentioned above the key requirements you should demand from your cloud providers are: broad application support without lock-in, ease in mobility of environments, broad choice of locations (internal or external), and innovation that drives simplified federation of on- and off-premise clouds.  Additionally, as an enterprise you'll want to look for innovation in building the internal (private) cloud to evolve your ability to offer dynamic services.

As noted, virtualization is the key. Most companies' first step on the virtualization path is to consolidate their servers, using virtualization to run multiple applications on each server instead of just one, increasing the utilization rate of (and getting more value from) every server and, thus, dramatically reducing the number of servers they need to buy, rack, power, cool, and manage.

Having consolidated servers, you realize that not only have you substantially cut the capital and operating costs of your server environments, but as a result the entire datacenter has become far more flexible. Along the way, you may have started to think about and to use IT resources - including servers, storage, networks, desktops, and applications - not as isolated silos that must be managed individually but as pools of resources that can be managed in the aggregate.

This means that you can now move resources around at will across the network, from server to server, datacenter to datacenter, and even out into the cloud, to balance loads and use compute capacity more efficiently across the entire global IT environment.

In other words, users are able to look at the compute power as a centralized resource that they can now allocate to business units on demand, while still maintaining control and operational excellence. Leveraging virtualization to better serve users gives your organization the obvious lower TCO, but also allows for accountability of usage, simplifies and meets the needs of on-demand infrastructure requests, and allows for your ability to serve, control and manage SLAs.

Hence, virtualization has played and will continue to play a huge role in cloud computing. It is the technology that has allowed service providers to deliver lower-cost hosting environments to businesses of all sizes today. Just as virtualization enabled you to consolidate your servers and do more with less hardware, it also lets you support more users per piece of hardware, and deliver applications - and the servers on which they run - faster to those users.

As the leader in virtualization, VMware recently launched its vCloud initiative.  With its proven, reliable platform deployed in over 120,000 customer environments today, VMware is committed to working with enterprises who want to build internal clouds with the ability to federate to external providers to meet the changing needs of thier business.  VMware's virtual datacenter operating system, enables internal clouds with features such as self-service provisioning, chargeback, and many other advanced automation and management features.

In addition, VMware is leveraging its huge ecosystem to bring new cloud offerings, such as security for clouds, to market.  The virtualization market leader's approach leverages the infrastructure and expertise of hundreds of partners worldwide, including brand names such as Verizon, Hosting.com, SunGard, Terremark and Savvis to deliver the VMware platform and cloud services.  This, in combination with the technology for internal clouds, lets enterprises run their applications where they want, when they want.

With the largest choice of location and interoperability of platforms, the broadest application and OS support, and leading virtualization and cloud technologies, VMware and its cloud strategy offer users a safe, reliable, and robust on-ramp to the cloud, whether on or off premise.

So, if you're a VMware user, you're in good hands and you've already taken steps toward the cloud simply by virtualizing your servers on a proven platform that offers rich management and automation features. You will see VMware continue to lead the market in delivering cloud innovation for both on- and off-premise clouds.

If you're not a VMware user but want reliable infrastructure on demand, many service providers offer VMware Infrastructure 3 with pay-per-use models.  For more information about VMware vCloud or to find a partner that can help you realize the benefits of the cloud, visit: www.vmware.com/vcloud.

More Stories By Wendy Perilli

Wendy Perilli is director of product marketing for cloud computing at VMware. She gathers market insight from analysts, customers, service and technology partners and many others. With almost 20 years in high-tech fields, Wendy's broad range of experience with various technologies offers unique insight into the role that virtualization plays in emerging markets and trends.

Comments (2)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
Things are being built upon cloud foundations to transform organizations. This CEO Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Roger Strukhoff, Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo conference chair, addressed the big issues involving these technologies and, more important, the results they will achieve. Rodney Rogers, chairman and CEO of Virtustream; Brendan O'Brien, co-founder of Aria Systems, Bart Copeland, president and CEO of ActiveState Software; Jim Cowie, chief scientist at Dyn; Dave Wagstaff, VP and chief architect at BSQUARE Corporation; Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, Inc.; and Andris Gailitis, C...
SYS-CON Media announced that Splunk, a provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, has launched an ad campaign on Big Data Journal. Splunk software and cloud services enable organizations to search, monitor, analyze and visualize machine-generated big data coming from websites, applications, servers, networks, sensors and mobile devices. The ads focus on delivering ROI - how improved uptime delivered $6M in annual ROI, improving customer operations by mining large volumes of unstructured data, and how data tracking delivers uptime when it matters most.
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect at GE, and Ibrahim Gokcen, who leads GE's advanced IoT analytics, focused on the Internet of Things / Industrial Internet and how to make it operational for business end-users. Learn about the challenges posed by machine and sensor data and how to marry it with enterprise data. They also discussed the tips and tricks to provide the Industrial Internet as an end-user consumable service using Big Data Analytics and Industrial Cloud.
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to evolve the way the world does business; however, understanding how to apply it to your company can be a mystery. Most people struggle with understanding the potential business uses or tend to get caught up in the technology, resulting in solutions that fail to meet even minimum business goals. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO / President / Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., showed what is needed to leverage the IoT to transform your business. He discussed opportunities and challenges ahead for the IoT from a market and technical point of vie...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...
Dale Kim is the Director of Industry Solutions at MapR. His background includes a variety of technical and management roles at information technology companies. While his experience includes work with relational databases, much of his career pertains to non-relational data in the areas of search, content management, and NoSQL, and includes senior roles in technical marketing, sales engineering, and support engineering. Dale holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, and a BA in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly in the process of breaking from its heretofore relatively obscure enterprise applications (such as plant floor control and supply chain management) and going mainstream into the consumer space. More and more creative folks are interconnecting everyday products such as household items, mobile devices, appliances and cars, and unleashing new and imaginative scenarios. We are seeing a lot of excitement around applications in home automation, personal fitness, and in-car entertainment and this excitement will bleed into other areas. On the commercial side, m...
The Industrial Internet revolution is now underway, enabled by connected machines and billions of devices that communicate and collaborate. The massive amounts of Big Data requiring real-time analysis is flooding legacy IT systems and giving way to cloud environments that can handle the unpredictable workloads. Yet many barriers remain until we can fully realize the opportunities and benefits from the convergence of machines and devices with Big Data and the cloud, including interoperability, data security and privacy.
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, discussed how to take advantage of a multitude of compute options and platform features to make cloud the cornerstone of your online presence.
In this Women in Technology Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo, moderated by Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing at Verizon Enterprise, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO at MetraTech; Evelyn de Souza, Data Privacy and Compliance Strategy Leader at Cisco Systems; Seema Jethani, Director of Product Management at Basho Technologies; Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell Inc.; Anne Hungate, Senior Director of Software Quality at DIRECTV, discussed what path they took to find their spot within the technology industry and how do they see opportunities for other women in their area of expertise.
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.