It's almost impossible these days to view any enterprise-related merger, acquisition or product announcement outside the prism of cloud computing.
It seems that every move being made today is intended to shore up Company X's or Developer Y's ability to leverage the coming cloud architecture.
What's not so surprising is that a growing portion of this activity is centered around managing and maintaining cloud environments, rather than getting them up and running in the first place.
Over the past month, we've seen EMC pick up FastScale Technology, developer of the Ionix portfolio designed to oversee application performance across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructures. The plan is to bundle it with VMware's vCenter AppSpeed and assorted virtualization services to provide a broad-based management suite for both ESX and vSphere users.
Another key area is managing data flow across the cloud. Adaptec's new Data Conditioning Platform, for example, aims to bring intelligent I/O management using a combination of SSD caching software and hybrid SSD/HDD technology to accelerate cloud applications, particularly those that require access to large amounts of data.
The latest moves into the cloud come from CA and NetApp, both of which are out to accumulate the specific technologies they need to round out their management positions. CA has plunked down $200 million for NetQoS, a developer of network performance management technologies designed to maintain service levels across disparate network topologies. The company says it expects to unite NetQoS' Performance Center software with its leading management stacks, such as the eHealth Network Performance Manager and Spectrum Infrastructure Manager, as well as key automation technology acquired from Cassatt Corp. earlier this year.
From NetApp, we're seeing a renewed push for integrated service and storage capabilities for the cloud. The company has teamed up with BMC Software to develop a full automated cloud platform capable of handling everything from provisioning and deployment to ongoing management and eventual shut-down. The package is expected to consist of BMC's Service Request Management and Atrium Orchestrator software and NetApp's Provisioning Manager and SANscreen systems.
At a time when most enterprises' cloud strategies are still on the drawing board, the race for fully automated management environments may seem a little premature. However, as we have learned in past technology rollouts, the time to initiate a management regime is before the environment grows so large as to be unmanageable, not after.
And since the success or failure of a cloud environment very much will depend on how well it integrates with existing infrastructure, both internal and external to the data center, now is the time to work out the inevitable kinks that accompany such complex system management.