The Coming of Cloud Ecosystems

Michael Vizard
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While interest in cloud computing is clearly on the rise, the evolution of the category is only just beginning. When many people look at cloud computing, what they essentially see is a remote server that is managed by somebody else. As a result, it comes as not much of a surprise to find too much server capacity chasing too few applications, which might be considered a form of "cloudflation." The logical outcome of that process is a wave of mergers and acquisitions among cloud computing providers, the most notable of which was the acquisition of Terremark by Verizon.


But something interesting is starting to take shape in the form of another cloud computing acquisition that Verizon now plans to fold into the Terremark business unit. Verizon announced last week that it plans to acquire CloudSwitch, a provider of a cloud computing service that is specifically designed to run existing enterprise applications. Without some adjustments, most existing enterprise applications don't lend themselves to running on the cloud because of a variety of latency issues. By acquiring CloudSwitch, Verizon is creating a path that facilitates the migration of existing enterprise applications to the cloud, which helps solve the "cloudflation" problem for Verizon by increasing the number of applications that could be considered cloud-ready.


As interesting as that is, however, it might not be the end game when it comes to acquiring CloudSwitch, which has created a set of technologies that could just as easily be used to integrate applications across disparate private and public cloud computing infrastructure.


Chris Gesell, chief innovation and strategy officer for Terremark, notes that while the whole concept of cloud computing ecosystems is still nascent, it's pretty clear that if cloud computing is to really thrive, the IT industry as a whole needs to move in this direction. In the short term, there will be a lot of marketing of vendor turf in the cloud. But longer-term open cloud ecosystems will create the volume of applications that cloud service providers are going to need in order to first survive and then thrive, adds Ellen Rubin, vice president of products for CloudSwitch.


We've already seen companies such as Intel promoting the importance of open cloud computing systems. Now we just need to wait for that to actually happen, because once it does, the better off customers and vendors alike will be.



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