On Dec. 15, Savvis - the supplier of outsourced managed computing and network infrastructure for information technology (IT) applications - and GTSI, a provider of solutions to the U.S. federal government, announced the kind of meat-and-potatoes alliance that it will take to turn all the cloud computing hype into reality. The announcement caused me to recall a recent conversation with Savvis' Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Bryan Doerr, an interview I conducted in support of an upcoming IT Business Edge article on virtualization (send me an e-mail if you would like to be interviewed for the article).
As Savvis' CTO, he was a good person with which to discuss the two flavors of cloud computing that are emerging:
Virtualization is a major enabler of both types. Either way, he says virtualization takes away the "build-to our environment" mentality where IT shops scale out IT servers for operational efficiency instead of the efficiency of the systems while outsourcing software that the enterprise thinks of as a commodity ("a necessary evil") . With virtualization he is seeing this change to where platforms can be shared, IT management can build in QoS, and enterprise software gets decoupled from underlying platform dependence.
For his own company, it means they can more easily scale across multiple clients, becoming a better source for software as a service (SaaS) providers that want to concentrate on the functionality of their software and not running a data center. Savvis is seeing SaaS providers - where IT by definition is THE most critical thing in the business - as well as enterprises with such mission-critical applications as proximity trading in financial services, complex legal activities such as compliance projects, and more choose outsourcing.
The quote of note: "The value/visibility of the managed box is disappearing; environment-type computing should remove any fear of IT vis a vis outsourcing."
Unprompted (unless it was by my reference to Multics), he made my favorite point: Why the hell do you still want to own the dynamo to get your electricity?