The Importance of Hanging Together in the Cloud

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The Impact of Cloud Computing

The primary driver for cloud computing adoption is shifting from costs to agility.

As we approach Independence Day, now may be a good time for IT organizations to remember the wise words that Benjamin Franklin once shared with his colleagues: "We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."

More often than not, internal IT organizations are finding themselves competing against any number of cloud computing providers. What's at stake here is whether a particular application workload is going to run on a cloud computing service or on internal IT infrastructure. Generally speaking, the internal IT team would prefer to see that application workload running internally in the interest of full employment.

While there are plenty of compliance and security reasons that might require application workloads to run on internal systems, the fact remains that the external provider usually has a few inherent advantages in terms of processes and access to the latest IT automation technologies to drive them. If internal IT organizations really want to compete against external cloud service providers, they are going to have to rethink their internal workflow processes. And more often than not, that's going to mean adopting some form of IT automation tool.

The folks at Opscode, a provider of an open-source systems management framework for managing clouds that is included in the OpenStack cloud management framework, have come to the same conclusion. As a result, the company recently released a version of its software that can be deployed as an appliance behind the corporate firewall. Known as Private Chef, the appliance is based on the same software that the company used to deliver Hosted Chef, which is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform the company created for managing cloud computing deployments.

Of course, there are any number of platforms for managing cloud deployments, but Opscode CEO Jesse Robbins is making a case for an open-source approach that allows IT organizations to be part of a larger community. If internal IT organizations are in a struggle to justify their continuing existence, it makes sense to be part of a larger community that is fighting the same fight.

Whether you agree with that reasoning or not depends on how much of a threat you perceive cloud computing to be. But at the very least, there are tons of systems management best practices to be shared among IT professionals who, on a daily basis, are contending with the same issues.

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