There’s an old maxim that says introducing a new concept that creates more questions than it answers is not the best course of action.
That seems to be what’s happening at the VMworld 2010 conference today with the launch of VMware vCloud Director, an engine for managing IT as service across both public and private cloud computing deployments running VMware virtual machine software.
That’s not to say that VMware didn’t do some very good things today. VMware deserves major points for launching a more scalable version of vSphere for cloud computing environments, improving VMware storage performance, updating its VMware View virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offering, improving security with the acquisition of TriCipher and the launch of a family of vShield products that includes a firewall for the hypervisor, and acquiring Integrien which provides a tool for analyzing exactly what’s happening as it relates to virtualization performance.
All of these offerings are building blocks, says VMware CTO Steve Herrod, that herald the creation of virtual data centers where logical sets of cloud computing services will all be managed by a common set of policy engines.
But the launch of vCloud Director only seems to emphasize one of the more troubling aspects of cloud computing. While vCloud Director provides an orchestration engine that allows IT organizations to create self-service portals across multiple instances of vSphere, the existence of vCloud Director highlights the challenges that IT organizations will soon encounter when trying to manage multiple cloud computing deployments based on diverse architectures.
While it’s nice that VMware has partnered with Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix and Oracle will eventually gain more traction in not only virtualization, but in cloud computing as a whole. That means IT organizations eventually will have to stitch all these services into some sort of comprehensive policy-driven approach to managing IT services across heterogeneous tiers of cloud computing.
Obviously, the right answer is going to be to create of new industry standards that will facilitate the management of cloud computing across diverse set of platforms, because right now vendors are telling customers that cloud computing is just fine as long as you stay off of anybody else’s cloud. And ultimately, that’s only serves to slow down, rather than speed up, adoption. And unfortunately,when it comes to open stndards in the cloud, the industry is moving at a pace that make the proverbial snail look swift.