The Economics of Elastic Data

Michael Vizard

There's a lot of talk about elastic data and the rise of private cloud computing based on new dynamic data center architectures. The generally accepted vision of the future is that application workloads will dynamically scale and move about the enterprise to dynamically meet demand of additional compute capacity.

Unfortunately, most IT organizations are not capable of managing that kind of application workload complexity. But we are seeing the rise of several new frameworks that promise to automate the management of application workloads in these types of environments. For example, Kaavo provides a platform for managing private clouds call Infrastructure and Middleware on Demand (IMOD).

Kaavo CEO Jamal Mazhar concedes that the brave new world of elastic data probably scares most existing IT organizations. But Mazhar also argues that this level of dynamism in the enterprise is inevitable. Simple economics are going to force IT organizations to get higher utilization rates from their server investments, especially as more IT organizations move to next-generation processor architectures that were built to support virtualization from the ground up.

To deliver on that promise, Mazhar contends that IT organizations are going to need platform-neutral approaches to managing all the diverse applications, virtual machines and next-generation servers that will make up the extended enterprise of the future. Those platforms, said Mazhar, will mask the complexity inherent in enterprise computing by relying more on IT automation to manage IT at a much higher level of abstraction.

Mazhar says the twin forces of elastic data and dynamic application workload management are already upon us. And beginning in 2011, we will see a lot more mainstream adoption of these types of approaches to enterprise IT.  Unfortunately, the history of IT shows that we have to create the mess first before we find better ways to manage it. But with the expected rapid growth of virtualization in the enterprise, that mess is already growing with each passing day. All that's needed, says Mazhar, is an effective way to manage it.

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