Placing Multiple Cloud Computing Bets

Michael Vizard

Most enterprise IT organizations are not particularly fond of uncertainty, which is why anything to do with cloud computing is at the very least a little unsettling. No one is quite sure which cloud service providers will ultimately prove to be victorious in the enterprise. For example, while there’s almost no doubt that the Amazon and Microsoft Azure clouds will be significant players when it comes to application development, it’s not nearly as clear what role cloud service providers may play in production environments.

In recognition of that simple fact, the folks at GreenButton, a provider of cloud management software that makes it simpler to dynamically invoke compute resources across multiple clouds, have been steadily increasing the number of cloud platforms the company’s software supports. In addition to Microsoft Azure, GreenButton now also supports Amazon and an instance of VMware vCloud running on a cloud computing platform managed by Dell.

GreenButton CEO Scott Houston says that in addition to providing the software that enables the “cloudbursting” that allows an IT organization to dynamically invoke remote compute resources, GreenButton is increasingly being asked to help IT organizations set up their actual cloud service networks, especially when a new cloud application suddenly requires a lot more availability than they initially planned on needing.

The real challenge in the cloud, says Houston, is setting up the service level agreements (SLAs) around any given application workload requirement. In an ideal world, an IT organization wants to be able to take an agnostic approach to the cloud that doesn’t lock them into a particular cloud service provider, while still being able to guarantee service levels. That requires being able to exercise a significant amount of control over cloud service providers via a single management console, says Houston.

While the state of cloud management is still relatively immature, it’s no longer a question of whether IT organizations need a way to manage multiple clouds via a single management interface, but rather when that need will finally manifest itself.

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