Zombies in the Cloud: Hardware Is Dead, Yet Still Alive

Michael Vizard
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Cloud Computing Starts to Mature

The emphasis in the cloud is shifting from public to private cloud computing deployments.

One of the more interesting attributes of cloud computing is the ability to invoke compute-intensive resources as a service. Rather than having to acquire and deploy IT infrastructure to handle peak loads or processing requirements, IT organizations can "rightsize" their IT investments to handle their average workload requirements. Any time their computing requirements exceed those average workload limits, they can invoke additional compute capacity in the cloud using a process known as "cloudbursting."


It's still early days in terms of the mainstream adoption of "cloudbursting," but the concept is already leading to the creation of some new business models. For example, Pixar has announced that it is partnering with GreenButton and Microsoft to deliver a new rendering service in the cloud that will be managed by GreenButton using its namesake cloud management software running on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform.


The basic idea, says GreenButton CEO Scott Houston, is to make it a lot more affordable for film studios, advertising agencies or anybody else using Pixar's RenderMan software to access the compute resources needed to create animated films in 3D. According to Houston, the new Pixar service should significantly lower the cost of making these films, which, in turn, should make the technology more accessible.


Obviously, the Pixar offering is only one instance of a cloudbursting application. The cloudbursting concept could easily be applied across any number of vertical industries, which should result in a number of new and interesting business models in 2012 that could never have been enabled without the cloud.



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