The popularity of cloud computing has spawned a new breed of service providers-some good, some bad-that many times determine the success of virtualized services for their customers. Host.net's CTO Roger Barranco has observed the virtualization groundswell and has some insight for customers looking to move into the cloud.
CTO Edge: Why has cloud computing become such a popular technology within the enterprise?
Barranco: In the beginning there was a lot of resistance because the enterprise didn't recognize the value of virtualized environments, but the press seemed to understand and wrote a lot about it, hyped it. That got the attention of the enterprise, and now these companies are looking into virtualization, saying, "Yeah, this is real-I can do anything in a virtual environment that I can do in a physical environment with higher service level, security and redundancy."
[The growth] truly has been exponential with the interest and people taking the technology up and implementing it. And a lot of people are looking at virtualization from a storage perspective, not just as a computing environment. There is a low cost comparatively to going out and buying storage hardware.
'... The hardware, the software that supports it, the security that's around it and the routing and switching-each piece is beyond critical.'
CTO Edge: So with the interest so high in cloud computing, what are some of the things an end-user company should look for when choosing a service provider?
Barranco: If the company has the opportunity to look at the server farm itself, it's important to see up-to-date, high-quality equipment. Keep in mind that you can run this environment using inexpensive hardware, but to have that reliability you need to ensure it's high quality. And that's for all segments-the hardware, the software that supports it, the security that's around it and the routing and switching-each piece is beyond critical. It's the total solution wrapped up together that's important.
CTO Edge: Looking forward, then what do you think the future holds for cloud computing?
Barranco: I believe it will follow same path as all technologies-we'll see mom-and-pop shops put together a solution and get some business, but when they eventually fail their customers are going to be looking for a higher level of service. That said, I don't see any fallout for a few years-the technology is so hot and needed in the industry it will take a long time before see any kind of bubble, per se.
Customers are moving toward this model for one reason: the economics of our world situation. There are companies that are in survival mode and there are some that are trying not to be in that do-or-die situation. They're trying to add efficiencies to their operations and avoid that scenario. Then there is a third group that could do it themselves, but they're thinking, Why not leverage a technology that's well-known and already has a lot of industry adoption?
Also, I think over last couple of years we've lost a bit of the hype around green technology, but that's very much still true that we need to get the job done with as much efficiency as we can. [Moving to a virtualized environment] equates to less equipment, which equates to less dangerous stuff in the environment, and a cleaner environment.