The cloud is still in its infancy, but vendors already are jockeying for position.
Nowhere is this more prevalent that in automation, where it seems just about everyone is trying to position themselves as providers of not only expansive cloud environments, but the means to control them as well.
The drive seems particularly acute among the major traditional platform vendors, who no doubt see the cloud as both a threat to their entrenched portfolios and an opportunity to be mined as reliance on on-premises IT technology starts to wane.
That's why we have companies like EMC looking to bring in third-party cloud automation systems like LineSider's OverDrive. By doing away with the manual process of mapping applications and data to available resources, EMC can not only roll out its Atmos environment to customers more quickly, it can offer the means to manage it as data loads and complexity increase, which they naturally will under the cloud.
While logic would dictate that a company like EMC would know best how to automate its own cloud service, that might not always be the case. Microsoft, for instance, has been busy adding automation capabilities to its Azure platform, but that hasn't stopped third-party firms like rPath from getting in on the action. rPath says it can go one better than Microsoft by adding .Net support to its Linux automation solution. The move acknowledges that more and more Windows organizations are adding Linux to the mix, which means that at some point there will have to be a common platform to handle deployment, configuration and ongoing management of Windows applications across heterogeneous environments.
But the big players aren't the only ones on the move. A nascent industry like the cloud is generally where fortunes are made, which is why the rush is on to build smaller companies into larger ones. Infoblox, for example, specializes in DNS server appliances, but it gains instant credibility as a managed platform provider with the acquisition of Netcordia and the incorporation of that company's configuration-management software. With a broader range of management protocols, such as NCCM and DDI, the company hopes to gain increased leverage over increasingly fluid virtual and cloud environments.
To enterprises just venturing onto the cloud, this might all seem a bit premature. But with cloud environments offering such extreme levels of scalability, they can be expected to ramp up data and application loads very quickly. In that light, then, it's crucial to establish management and automation platforms, along with reworked with policies and procedures, as early as possible -- before the cloud takes on a life of its own.