Putting the Cloud Cart Before the IT Management Horse

Michael Vizard
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Application Acceleration in the Clouds

Acceleration technologies can dramatically improve the performance of emerging cloud, SaaS and other Internet-based content and applications.

There's a lot of talk these days about how cloud computing represents the next great leap forward for enterprise IT. While there is a lot of truth to that, the simple fact of the matter is that the complexity of cloud computing makes it difficult to manage, which, in turn, slows adoption.

The issue that this brings up is whether IT organizations are going about migrating to the cloud all wrong. Most of them seem to be deploying virtual machines and then acquiring new systems with little thought being given to how cloud computing changes the way IT needs to be managed.

In fact, Adaptive Computing President Michael Jackson says that an IT organization can only really achieve cloud computing if the environment is not only truly dynamic across multiple types of virtual machines, but also predictive in the sense that there are no surprises. To that end, Jackson advocates that a real cloud computing strategy needs to begin with the management framework that will enable it.

Managing cloud computing, especially in any real hybrid sense, is going to require a lot more reliance on IT automation. The problem, of course, is that without any well-defined processes in place, it's hard to automate anything. In the case of Adaptive Computing, the company has included what it calls a "cloud controller" in its Moab Adaptive Computing Suite, which automates the processes that the IT organization defines within the Moab management framework. Most recently, the company expanded an alliance with Hewlett-Packard under which Moab is now an element of the HP Cloud Service Automation framework.

Unfortunately, too many IT organizations are going learn how cloud computing changes the way IT needs to be managed the hard way, which is to say trial and error. Naturally, there is a tendency towards caution when confronted with anything new, which usually manifests itself in a series of pilot projects. But while those pilot projects are under way, IT organizations would be well advised to start formulating a long-term strategic plan for the cloud that acknowledges the fact that the way enterprise IT is managed is about to fundamentally change.

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