In the Eye of the Cloud Beholder

Michael Vizard

As interpretations of what defines cloud computing continue to expand, a lot of IT organizations are saying that with the deployment of virtual machine software, they now have in place what amounts to a private cloud. After all, multiple applications are leveraging those virtual machines to share a common base on IT infrastructure.

Of course, that sharing of IT infrastructure is only one base element of what defines cloud computing. While virtual machine software is a critical element of a cloud, it doesn't address any of the self-service or elastic requirements associated with the generally accepted definition of cloud computing created by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST).

The good news is that providers of virtualization management software have identified the gap between virtualization as we know it today and the expectations of private cloud computing tomorrow. For example, Embotics in the version 4.0 release of its V-Commander software has added self-service capabilities along with enhanced automated provisioning capabilities.

According to Jason Cowie, Embotics vice president of product management, IT organizations are starting to appreciate the inherent heterogeneous nature of private cloud computing, which means they are looking for tools that will allow them to manage multiple private cloud instances from a single pane of glass.

While there is a lot of saluting of the cloud computing flag within internal IT departments, what some IT people call a cloud versus what it should actually be called can leave much to be desired. This isn't to say that internal IT departments are not heading in this direction, but pressure to please the board of directors by referring to virtual machine software as an instance of cloud computing is fairly high.

The challenge for many IT organizations is going to be figuring out how to actually turn all that virtualization software into an actual private cloud before anybody starts asking any questions that might be harder than most IT organizations can really answer today.
 



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