Cloud Computing and the Cost of Virtualization

Michael Vizard

Although most IT organizations are still in the early stages of testing out the concept, the shift toward private cloud computing is also going to cause more than a few IT organizations to rethink their virtualization strategies.

One of the issues confronting IT organizations as they embrace cloud computing is how dependent the whole model is on virtual machine software. That in and of itself is not a bad thing. But the potential cost of the virtual machine software that will need to be deployed both on premise and on public cloud computing infrastructure is giving some IT organizations cause for pause.

While many initially signed up for VMware inside the enterprise, Neil Levine, vice president of corporate services at Canonical says his company is starting to see customers question their virtualization strategy as they contemplate the scale of virtual machine software required in the cloud.

Rather than pay fees for that software, many of them are taking a page from hosting providers that make use of open source virtual machine software in the form of Xen or KVM. That trend, says Levine, is one of the reasons that Canonical this week partnered with Convirture to add an open source virtualization management platform to its Ubuntu distribution of Linux.

Levine argues that to a certain degree, companies that invest in Linux are a little more adventurous in rolling their own technology platforms. As a result, he says the Linux community in the enterprise is already pretty active when it comes to private cloud computing.

Obviously, Linux isn't going to be the only platform used underneath private cloud computing. But Levine is willing to bet that there's a lot more real private cloud computing activity on Linux than any other platform in the enterprise.

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