Managing Clouds Within Clouds

Slide Show

Perceptions and Realities of Cloud Security

A new survey suggests that access policies could use a little work.

How applications will be managed in the cloud very much depends on how you see cloud computing evolving. There's one school of thought that says applications are primarily going to run on virtual data centers on public infrastructure. Another says the majority of installations are going to be private clouds running on premise. Others say that cloud computing by definition is going to be a hybrid affair, with application workloads dynamically moving back and forth across private and public cloud infrastructure.

Presidio Networked Solutions CTO Dave Hart says it's going to be all of the above, which means the next real big challenge is going to be how to manage all that. Hart says he envisions new types of managed services coming from IT services firms such as Presidio that are optimized to manage the diversity of cloud computing implementations that IT organizations are going to adopt. One approach or another may wind up being the dominant model some day in the future. But for the foreseeable future, customers are going to want to keep their options open. And yet many of them don't have the expertise needed to first move application workloads into the cloud and then proactively manage them, so Hart says many customers are going to turn to IT services companies to provide that expertise.

And just to make matters more interesting, all the various forms of cloud computing are going to be federated. So provided clouds running on premise will be integrated with private clouds running on multiple public cloud computing services.

Of course, IT automation will play a big role in managing that process. But setting up the policies to optimize the processes that need to be automated still requires IT expertise. And even once those policies are set, dynamically changing business conditions are always going to call for some adjustment.

The most interesting thing about cloud computing, says Hart, is how long will it be before it just simply disappears into the fabric of enterprise IT? We no longer spend much time discussing the merits of client/server or distributed computing. They are just part of the fabric of enterprise IT. In the not too distant future cloud computing will similarly disappear into the fabric of enterprise IT.

And once that happens, it will be a very good thing because instead of just talking about cloud computing it will mean that we're actually doing it.