Security and Hybrid Clouds Dominate Discussion
by Tom Mays
The VMworld Conference was last week in San Francisco. This is the 10th year of this event and it’s amazing how much the industry has grown during that time. At the start, virtualized computing – what we now called “the cloud” – was just beginning to gain traction as a way to leverage the Internet to save businesses time and money.
The cloud is so much more than that now and the” cloud of tomorrow” will increasingly extend into our daily lives. I spoke on the subject of the “cloud of tomorrow” and had countless conversations in the halls, on the tradeshow floor and over drinks in area restaurants about the role cloud will play in the future, what it will enable enterprises to do and what enterprise cloud providers need to address in order to support the future market.
Here are just a few of the things said, heard and argued over the course of the conference:
- Cloud-based services increasingly collect data and analyze it to deliver useful information back to us, and the future will see increased mash-ups of information from multiple cloud services that make that data even more correlated and actionable. The ability to share information and analytics among cloud services at lower cost and faster speeds – especially when the services are hosted inside the same cloud platform -- will act as a kind of "Gravity" that will draw related cloud services into the larger cloud providers.
Obviously, these additional connections and new ways to gather and process data which the cloud will enable, requires a greater understanding of and commitment to cloud security. Security will also be an increasing priority with new types of protection built directly into the cloud fabric, cloud providers will need to be able to peer into the core of the Internet and protect customers from the inside out. Additionally, the physical security around these clouds and the data centers that house them will be paramount.
- Discussions about the cloud model will evolve from simply being a less expensive way to consume IT, to how to redirect those savings into better security, performance, compliance, availability, and reporting that customers always wanted but could never afford. While some of those capabilities will be provided by customers themselves, cloud providers can build features into the cloud fabric that are often better and more economical than customers can build for themselves, not just because of economies of scale, but also because of economies of scope and economies of skill.
- There continues to be a lot of conversation in the industry about hybrid clouds, but when it comes to taking action, few customers really understand how hybrid clouds work and how to best leverage them. This is because it is challenging for most customers to understand the interdependencies of servers involved in individual application stacks which make it difficult to dynamically move workloads into and out of the cloud. This is further complicated by the dynamic nature of virtualized environments. Better tools to help customers understand the interdependencies in real time and identify application groups that can be moved will help and provide a more direct line of sight for enterprises to see best cases for hybrid clouds. In addition to dynamically moving individual workloads, another way to think about hybrid cloud is to consider moving entire capabilities to the cloud, for instance using the cloud for disaster recovery, test/dev, or QA/staging.
Again, the level of complexity and demands from cloud could almost not have been predicted when the VMworld Conference began in 2003. As the industry builds the future cloud there are key requirements and evolutions that will guide where we go. I’m excited to see what VMworld, and the cloud, will look like in 10 years.