The goal of cloud computing

In our last newsletter we pointed out how some industry purists believe that the phrase private cloud computing is an oxymoron – that cloud computing by definition implies the use of services provided by a third party. We stated that in our view the phrase private cloud computing is perfectly legitimate and that we feel that way because the majority of IT professionals that we talk to feel that way. With that as a backdrop, we are going to use this newsletter to identify what we believe to be the goal and one of the primary characteristics of cloud computing.

FAQ: Cloud computing demystified

Roughly a year ago, The Cloud Computing Journal published an article that had 21 definitions of cloud computing. (Twenty-One Experts Define Cloud Computing)

We don't believe that the world needs yet one more definition of cloud computing and so we will not make any attempt in this newsletter to try to precisely define cloud computing. However, even though the definition of cloud computing is quite murky, the goal is crystal clear. That goal is to provide an order of magnitude improvement in the cost effective, dynamic provisioning of IT services. Virtually all of you remember the old cliché, "better, faster, cheaper". In most cases, cloud computing is shooting for faster and cheaper. Whether cloud computing solutions are better in the sense of higher quality, is a subject of future newsletters.

So, if the goal of cloud computing is crystal clear, but the definition is murky, what are the primary characteristics of cloud computing? In a recent report, Jim detailed 12 characteristics of cloud computing. One of those characteristics is virtualization. Virtualization certainly isn't new. We had virtualized mainframes in the 1970s. In addition, IT organizations have been implementing virtualized technologies such as VPNs for at least 20 years and virtual LANs for at least a decade.

In the current environment, almost every component of IT can be virtualized. This certainly includes servers, desktops, applications, storage, network switches and routers. On an increasing basis, virtualization will also apply to Input/Output on network switches as well as appliances such as WAN optimization controllers (WOC), application delivery controllers (ADC) and firewalls. In fact, we see 2010 as a very big year for virtualized WOCs and ADCs.

In our next newsletter we will identify some additional characteristics of cloud computing. In the mean time, we would like to hear from you. If you have already implemented cloud computing, or if you expect to in the next year, what concerns do you have relative to the network and its ability to support cloud computing?

Learn more about this topic

FAQ: Cloud computing demystified

Private cloud computing is not an oxymoron

10 cloud computing companies to watch

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