Often when people-including myself-talk about cloud integration, they focus on SaaS and the software/data integration question. But a recent Internet Evolution column looks more broadly at the cloud integration question and concludes that insufficient integration is holding up both cloud computing and virtualization.
The piece is written by David Vellante, who boasts an impressive business resume, including a former CEO and founder of three startups - ITCentrix, Inc., Barometrix Software Corp. and the Wikibon project. He also worked at IDC, where he started the storage service division and served as a senior vice president.
Vellante says senior executives are willing to outsource IT to the cloud, but recognize that adds risk in terms of security, privacy and compliance. So, they're virtualizing their internal data centers.
Now, from what I've read, that's usually a good step toward resolving integration issues. But Vellante contends that step actually uncovers further, more business-centric integration challenges:
The dilemma that both IT practitioners and cloud providers face, however is that there's a lack of integration across storage, backup, networking, security, and management functions in virtualized environments. This lack of integration is constricting their ability to more aggressively pursue virtualization and cloud computing and host more applications from their portfolios on both internal and external clouds.
He categorizes the leading integration challenges into five areas: Storage, backup, networks, security and management. Alas, he doesn't spend much time on how to solve integration in these areas-literally, he offers a few passing words. For example, in discussing security integration, he writes only, "the key is to simplify the pieces in the middle while at the same time securing the end points."
To be fair, it's too much to expect answers in a single blog post, particularly when he says companies may need the better part of a decade to work through these problems. He predicts it will emerge as a key issue this year, and continue for the next five years.
I do wonder, however, whether these challenges might better be addressed by starting with a private cloud.
The post has attracted quality feedback from readers, who are posting suggestions and challenges. Vellante is participating as well, which adds a bit more depth than you typically find in the comment sections of non-IT Business Edge blogs (wink). So, definitely check that out as well.
IT Business Edge's Arthur Cole has some thoughts of his own in this post.