Unifying the Clouds

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For at least the next year or more, cloud computing is going to be dominated by hybrid scenarios where IT organizations are running and managing application workloads across public cloud computing services and private clouds that are either running on premise or on third-party infrastructure.

Given that reality, the next challenge is to find ways to holistically manage disparate clouds of computing. To address that specific issue, IBM today rolled out a Hybrid Cloud Solution for the Enterprise offering that leverages the company's recently acquired Cast Iron middleware for the cloud and systems management software from its Tivoli portfolio. Included in that lineup is Tivoli Workload Manager, which makes it possible to dynamically provision and manage application workloads running on multiple cloud computing environments. That capability is one of the cornerstones of IBM's overall Smarter Computing initiative that seeks to de-emphasize particular computing platforms in favor of dynamically running application workloads on a particular platform based on the characteristics and processing requirements associated with that workload.

According to Scott Hebner, vice president for global marketing in IBM's Tivoli Software, this offering represents the only complete package available for managing both public and private cloud computing deployments using one common management framework.

As cloud computing evolves, the debate over public versus private cloud computing is starting to dissipate as IT organizations begin to realize that both types of cloud computing platforms are going to be employed. The question now is how to manage the inherent complexity associated with integrating and orchestrating services that span multiple classes of cloud computing services.

IBM, obviously, isn't going to be the only company trying to address this problem, but they are one of the first. In the meantime, it's pretty clear that the implications of cloud computing are starting to be rapidly understood, which means the discussion is starting to shift to how best to manage it.