So, the beauty of cloud computing is that you just port your applications over to the cloud and wave goodbye to all those management hassles of your old data center? Don't bet on it.
As more and more enterprises are finding out, managing resources and applications across the cloud, whether external or internal, is just as big a challenge as in the old days. So much so that there has been a steady stream of new management platforms specifically geared toward cloud computing.
While many of these new systems are available to enterprises for their own private networks, they are also being integrated directly into the cloud services springing up across the Web. Appistry, for example, has already established partnerships with providers like GoGrid and SkyTap for its Enterprise Application Fabric (EAF). End users will be able to access pre-configured EAF versions using either Windows or Linux, getting features like on-demand virtual machines and simplified application scaling.
RightScale is bringing its expertise in managing multi-cloud networks to the UK through a partnership with FlexiScale, which, as a public cloud provider, is required to provide 99.99 percent service level agreements to its customers. RightScale's platform features a centralized, Web-based dashboard that allows for rapid deployment and dynamic scalability to adjust to varying traffic loads.
Still other organizations are using the cloud to improve their existing management platforms. CollabNet recently added a cloud component to its CuBit 2.0 software development platform. The move aims to reduce development cycles and hardware costs by creating pools of on-demand build and test services. This allows development teams to quickly configure their own machines and manage their own libraries and profiles throughout the entire development, build and QA process.
Another aspect of the data center that will change dramatically as clouds become more pervasive is the whole idea of capacity management, according to RedMonk IT analyst Michael Cot�. In the cloud, capacity restraints aren't caused by limitations in physical resources, but the speed at which new services can be deployed. It takes time to initiate new systems, transfer data and applications, test them, and finally connect them to existing services. He recommends that enterprises heading into the cloud concentrate on ensuring that new services can be enacted quickly and then establish proper workflows to manage those new assets.
In nearly every respect, cloud computing provides a vastly simplified data infrastructure for the end users. But it's hardly a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. The need for effective management will always be paramount, no matter how you've organized your enterprise.