Private Cloud: Debunking Myths Preventing AdoptionTranscript of a sponsored podcast on the misconceptions that are preventing many enterprisesfrom embracing the reality of private cloud.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor:Platform Computing Get a complimentary copy of the Forrester Private Cloud Market Overview from Platform ComputingDana Gardner: Hi. This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and youre listening to BrieﬁngsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion on debunking myths on the road to cloud-computing adoption. The popularity of cloud concepts and the expected beneﬁts from cloud computing have raised expectations. Forrester now predicts that cloud spending will grow from $40 billion to $241 billion in the global IT market over the next 10 years, and yet, theres still a lot of confusion about the true payoffs and risks associated with cloud adoption.Some enterprises expect to use cloud and hybrid clouds to save on costs, improve productivity,reﬁne their utilization rates, cut energy use and eliminate gross IT inefﬁciencies. At the sametime, cloud use should improve their overall agility, ramp up their business-process innovation,and generate better overall business outcomes. [Disclosure: Platform Computing is a sponsor ofBrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.]To others, this sounds a bit too good to be true, and a backlash against a silver bullet, cloud hypementality is inevitable and is probably healthy. Yet, we ﬁnd that there is also cynicism aboutcloud computing and doubt.So, where is the golden mean, a proper context for real-world and likely cloud value? And, what are the roadblocks that enterprises may encounter that would prevent them from appreciating the true potential for cloud, while also avoiding the risks? Were here to identify and debunk some myths, for better or worse, that can cause confusion and hold IT back from embracing cloud model soonerrather than later. We’ll also deﬁne some clear ways to get the best out of cloud virtues withoutstumbling.
Here to join me on our discussion about the right balance of cloud risk and reward are AjayPatel, a Technology Leader at Agilysys and he is based in Chicago. Welcome to the show, Ajay.Ajay Patel: Thank you very much, Dana.Gardner: Were also here with Rick Parker, IT Director for Fetch Technologies, and hes in ElSegundo, California. Welcome, Rick.Rick Parker: Good morning.Gardner: And, were also here with Jay Muelhoefer, Vice President of Enterprise Marketing atPlatform Computing, and he joins us from Boston. Welcome, Jay.Jay Muelhoefer: Glad to be here.Looking at extremes?Gardner: Jay, let me start with you. I want to try to understand a little bit from yourperspective, being deeply involved with cloud, particularly private cloud. Are we looking atextremes?On one hand, we have people that see this as a golden, wonderful opportunity to change ITfundamentally. On the other hand, we have folks that seem to be grounded in risk about securityand data, and think that the cost will probably be even higher. So wheres the right balance? Arethey both right or they both wrong? How do you see it?Muelhoefer: Theyre both right in some ways. Yes, there are risks that people are confronting today, but there’s also lots of opportunity. Right now, its a golden time to be evaluating the concept of cloud and private cloud. In 2009, I think a lot of people were looking at cloud and saying, "Okay, this is an interesting technology. Is this really something that’s going to go into fruition?" In 2010, there was a lot of research and a lot of the early adopters dipping their toes into cloud and what the beneﬁts could be. But, 2011 is really where that tension is moving from "Is this possible" to "Howdo I take advantage of it for my own organization?" Google and Amazon have really reset the barfor how IT services are delivered in the marketplace. If internal organizations dont start meetingthe needs of their business constituencies, whether it’s a dev, test or even production user, theyregoing to look elsewhere to consume those resources. So, weve hit an inﬂection point, and that’sgoing to make it an exciting time.Gardner: Ajay Patel, how about from your perspective? Do you see this mostly through the lensof opportunity, or do the risks merit being bit conservative?
Patel: Looking at it from systems-integrator (SI) perspective, what were seeing is the customerbase, the end-users are ready to take the leap to cloud. The technologies are there. Thecapabilities of the cloud management software, the key part of deploying private clouds, arethere, but the fear of security concerns around it are keeping them from jumping to it. I am veryconﬁdent that the technology and the industry is ready to take customers to the next phase ofprivate clouds.Gardner: Well get to some of those fears in a little while, when we look at various myths andperhaps what is supporting them or what needs to be debunked.Rick Parker, how about you? What are you seeing? What are you hearing in the ﬁeld? Do mostpeople seem to think that the good or the beneﬁts outweigh the risks, or are many people still onthe fence?No standard deﬁnitionParker: The biggest issue is the lack of knowledge, because there isnt a standard deﬁnition of what a private cloud network is comprised of. If you dont know what it is, then you can’t possibly build one yourself. Because there isn’t a standard deﬁnition that majority of people are aware of, that leads to an enormous amount of confusion. Then, when marketing gets hold of it and applies the term to many different things that arent even cloud related, that obscures the issue even further. So, Isee a basic lack of knowledge as the issue for private cloud deployments more than anything.Gardner: So, were working towards reﬁning that understanding and, that way, being able tohave a better sense of where our risks and rewards are. Of course, we hear through the grapevineand some of the discussions I have that IT is focusing on a sense of lost control, that a third-partypublic cloud gets between them and their users.We also hear about a lack of trust, that these cloud providers are not proven. They say that theyregoing to do what they do, but if they don’t, the IT department is still going to be left holding thebag or being held responsible. There is, of course, as you mentioned security, vulnerability,conﬁdentiality, and privacy issues, particularly around data.Lets begin to tackle some of the underlying myths that substantiate these concerns, amelioratethem, or help folks get the good without suffering all of the ills. We have a series of myths, andIll take the ﬁrst one to you, Rick.Theres an understanding that, as we are trying to deﬁne it, virtualization is private cloud andprivate cloud is virtualization. Clearly, thats not the case. Help me understand what you perceivein the market as a myth around virtualization and what should be the right path betweenvirtualization and a private cloud?
Parker: Private cloud, to put a usable deﬁnition to it, is a web-manageable virtualized datacenter. What that means is that through any browser you can manage any component of theprivate cloud. Thats opposed to virtualization, which could just be a single physical host with acouple of virtual machines (WMs) running on it and doesnt provide the redundancy and cost-effectiveness of an entire private cloud or the ease of management of a private cloud.So there is a huge difference between virtualization and use of a hypervisor versus an entireprivate cloud. A private cloud is comprised of virtualized routers, ﬁrewalls, switches, in a truedata center not a server room. There are redundant environmental systems, like air-conditioningand Internet connections. It’s comprised of an entire infrastructure, not just a single virtualizedhost.Gardner: And is there a level of virtualization? We hear some common rates for serverworkloads of 20 to 30 percent. Is there a certain point in your adoption of server virtualizationwhere youre almost inevitably heading towards a cloud? Are there people who have 80 percentvirtualization and perhaps have no interest in, or will never get to, the cloud? How does the rateof adoption for virtualization perhaps impact the likelihood of adopting private cloudinfrastructure?Parker: Moving to a private cloud is inevitable, because the beneﬁts so far outweigh theperceived risks, and the perceived risks are more towards public cloud services than privatecloud services.Gardner: We’ve talked a little bit about fear of loss of control. Perhaps bringing private cloudinfrastructure and models to bear on a largely virtualized server infrastructure would provideeven more control, better security, and a reduction in some of these risks. Is there acounterintuitive effect here that cloud will give you better control and higher degrees of securityand reliability?Redundancy and monitoringParker: I know that to be a fact, because the private cloud management software andhypervisors provide redundancy and performance monitoring that a lot of companies dont haveby default. You don’t only get performance monitoring across a wide range of systems just byinstalling a hypervisor, but by going with a private cloud management system and the use ofVirtualCenter that supports live motion between physical hosts.It also provides uptime/downtime type of monitoring and reporting capacity planning that mostcompanies dont even attempt, because these systems are generally out of their budget.Gardner: I wonder if you wouldn’t mind telling us, Rick a little bit about Fetch Technologies.Youre the IT Director there. Tell us a little bit about your organization.
Parker: Fetch Technologies is a provider of data as a service, which is probably the best way todescribe it. We have a software-as-a-service (SaaS) type of business that extracts formats anddelivers Internet-scale data. For example, two of our clients are Dow Jones and Shopzilla.Gardner: Let’s go next to Ajay. A myth that I encounter is that private clouds are just too hard.This is such a departure from the siloed and monolithic approach to computing that wed just assoon stick with one server, one app, and one database. Moving towards a fabric or grid type of affair is just too hard to maintain, and Im bound to stumble. Why would I be wrong in assuming that as my position, Ajay? Patel: One of the main issues that the IT management of an organization encounters on a day-to-day basis is the ability for their current staff to change their principles of how they manage the day-to-day operations. So, the operational ability for an IT management staff to operate a private cloud is there. The training and the discipline need to be changed. The fear of the operationsbeing changed is one of the key issues that IT management sees. They also think of staff attritionas a key issue. By doing the actual cloud assessment, by understanding what the cloud means, itscloser to home to what the IT infrastructure team does today than one would imagine through themyth.For example, virtualization is a key fundamental need of a private cloud -- virtualization at theservers, network and storage. All the enterprise providers at the servers, networks, and storageare creating a virtualized infrastructure for you to plug into your cloud-management software anddeliver those services to a end-user without issues and in a single pane of glass.Gardner: When you say a single pane of glass, I think you are talking about the manageability,the fact that these highly-virtualized environments can be automated and that you can probablyoversee many, many more instances of servers and runtime environments with fewer people. Isthat what you mean?Patel: Absolutely. If you look at the some of the metrics that are used by managed servicecompanies, SIs, and outsourcing companies, they do what the end-user companies do, but theydo it much cheaper, better and faster.More efﬁcient mannerHow they do it better is by creating the ability to manage several different infrastructureportfolio components in a much more efﬁcient manner. That means managing storage as avirtualized infrastructure, tier storage, network, the servers, not only the Windows environment,but the Unix environment, and the Linux environment, including all that in the hands of thebusiness-owners.Gardner: This is probably where we hear a lot about the cost containment issues. Were talkingabout higher utilization, lower energy, and better footprint, when it comes to facilities and so
forth. Is this what youre seeing, that those who do cloud properly, that put in the propermanagement and administration, are actually getting some cost-beneﬁts? There might be anupfront cost associated, but it’s the operational ongoing costs that are probably the mostimportant, and thats where the real value is.Patel: Absolutely. Another thing to look at is not even the upfront cost that you need to beconcerned about. Today, with the money being so tight to come by for a corporation, people needto look at not just a return on investment (ROI), but the return on invested capital.You can deploy private cloud technologies on top of your virtualized infrastructure at a muchlower cost of entry, than if you were to just expand utilizing the islands of bills of test, devenvironment, by application, by project.Gardner: Id like to hear more about Agilysys? What is your organization and what is your rolethere as a technology leader?Patel: I am the technology leader for cloud services across the US and UK. Agilysys is a value-added reseller, as well as a system integrator and professional services organization that servicesenterprises from Wall Street to manufacturing to retail to service providers, and telecomcompanies.Gardner: And do you agree, Ajay, with Forrester Research, when they show such massivegrowth, do you really expect that cloud, private cloud, and hybrid cloud are all going to be insuch rapid growth over the next several years?Patel: Absolutely. The only difference between a private cloud and public cloud, based on whatIm seeing out there, is the fear of bridging that gap between what the end-user attains via privatecloud being inside their four walled data center, to how the public cloud provides the ability forthe end-user to have security and the comfort level that their data is secure. So, absolutely,private to hybrid to public is deﬁnitely the way the industry is going to go.Gardner: Jay at Platform, youre thinking about myths that have to do with adoption, differentbusiness units getting involved, lack of control, and cohesive policy. This is probably what keepsa lot of CIOs up at night, thinking that it’s the Wild West and everyone is running off and doingtheir own thing with IT. How is that a myth and what does a private cloud infrastructure allowthat would mitigate that sense of a lot of loose cannons?Muelhoefer: That’s a key issue, when we start thinking about how our customers look to privatecloud. It comes back a little bit to the deﬁnition that Rick mentioned. Does virtualization equalprivate cloud -- yes or no? Our customers are asking for the end-user organizations to be able toaccess their IT services through a self-service portal.
Key elementThat’s a key element that we see being added on top of virtualization. But, a private cloud isn’tjust virtualization, nor is it one virtualization vendor. It’s a diverse set of services that need to bedelivered in a highly automated fashion. Because its not just one virtualization, its going to beVMware, KVM, Xen, etc.A lot of our customers also have physical provisioning requirements, because not all applicationsare going to be virtualized. People do want to tap in to external cloud resources as they need to,when the costs and the security and compliance requirements are right. Thats the concept of thehybrid cloud, as Ajay mentioned. Were deﬁnitely in agreement. You need to be able to supportall of those, bring them together in a highly orchestrated fashion, and deliver them to the rightpeople in a secure and compliant manner.The challenge is that each business unit inside of the company typically doesn’t want to give upcontrol. They each have their own IT silos today that meet their needs, and they are highly overprovisioned.Some of those can be at 5 to 10 percent utilization, when you measure it over time, because theyhave to provision everything for peak demands. And, because you have such a low utilization,people are looking at how to increase that utilization metric and also increase the number ofservers that are managed by each administrator.You need to ﬁnd a way to get all the business units to consolidate all these underutilizedresources. By pooling, you could actually get effects just like when you have a portfolio ofstocks. Youre going to have a different demand curve by each of the different business units andhow they can all beneﬁt. When one business unit needs a lot, they can access the pool whenanother business unit might be low. Get a complimentary copy of the Forrester Private Cloud Market Overview from Platform ComputingBut, the big issue is how you can do that without businesses feeling like theyre giving up thatcontrol to some other external unit, whether its a centralized IT within a company, or an externalservice provider? In our case, a lot of our customers, because of the compliance and securityissues, very much want to keep it within their four walls at this stage in the evolution of the cloudmarketplace.So, it’s all about providing that ﬂexibility and openness to allow business units to consolidate,but not giving up that control and providing a very ﬂexible administrative capability. That’ssomething that weve spent the last several years building for our customers.
Gardner: So, the old way of allowing for physical IT to be distributed offers them control, but ata high price. Perhaps with increasing security vulnerability issues, it’s hard to have acomprehensive security and network performance beneﬁt, when theres so much scatteredinfrastructure, but the balance then has to be that we want to let them feel they are enabled.Perhaps private cloud can do that.Muelhoefer: It’s all about being able to support that heterogeneous environment, because everybusiness unit is going to be a little different and is going to have different needs. Allowing themto have control, but within a deﬁned boundaries, you could have centralized cloud control, whereyou give them their resources and quotas for what theyre initially provisioned for, and you couldsupport costing and charge back, and provide a lot more visibility in to what’s happening.You get all of that centralized efﬁciency that Ajay mentioned, but also having a centralizedorganization that knows how to run a larger scale environment. But then, each of the businessunits can go in and do their own customized self-service portal and get access to IT services,whether its a simple OS or a VM or a way to provision a complex multi-tier application inminutes, and have that be an automated process. That’s how you get a lot of the cost efﬁcienciesand the scale that you want out of a cloud environment.Gardner: And, for those business units, theyd also have to watch the cost and maybe have theirown P&L. They might start seeing their IT costs as a shared services or charge-backs, get out ofthe capital expense business, and so it could actually help them in their business when it comesto cost.Still in evolutionMuelhoefer: Correct. Most of our customers today are very much still in evolution. The wholetrend towards more visibility is there, because youre going to need it for compliance, whetherit’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) or ITIL reporting.Ultimately, the business units of IT are going to get sophisticated enough that they can movefrom being a cost center to a value-added service center. Then, they can start doing that granularcharge-back reporting and actually show at a much more ﬁne level the value that they are addingto the organization.Parker: Different departments, by combining their IT budgets and going with a single privatecloud infrastructure, can get a much more reliable infrastructure. By combining budgets, they canafford SAN storage and a virtual infrastructure that supports live VMotion.They get a fast response, because by putting a cloud management application like Platform ontop it, they have much more control, because we are providing the interface to the differentdepartments. They can set up servers themselves and manage their own servers. They have amuch faster "IT response time,” so they don’t really have to wait for IT’s response through a helpdesk system that might take days to add memory to a server.
IT gives end-users more control by providing a cloud management application and also givesthem a much more reliable, manageable system. Weve been running a private cloud here atFetch for three years now, and weve seen this. This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky kind of thing. Thisis, in fact, what we have seen and proven over and over.Gardner: I asked both Ajay and Rick to tell us about their companies. Jay, why don’t you giveus the overview of Platform Computing? It’s based in Toronto and it’s been in the IT business forquite some time.Muelhoefer: Platform Computing is headquartered in Toronto, Canada and its about an 18-year-old company. We have over 2,000 customers, and theyre spread out on a global basis.We have a couple of different business units. One is enterprise analytics. Second, is cloud, andthe third is HPC grids and clusters. Within the cloud space, we offer a cloud managementsolution for medium and large enterprises to build and manage private and hybrid cloudenvironments.The Platform cloud software is called Platform ISF. Its all about providing the self-servicecapability to end-users to access this diverse set of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), andproviding the automation, so that you can get the efﬁciencies and the beneﬁts out of a cloudenvironment.Gardner: Rick, let’s go back to you. Ive heard this myth that private clouds are just for dev, test,and QA. Developers really like cloud. They have unique characteristics as users, lots of unevendemands when they test or they need to distribute applications for development and bring it backfrom those teams. So is that right? Is cloud really formed by developers and it’s being getting toomuch notoriety, or is there something else going that it’s for test, dev, and a whole lot more?Beginning of the mythParker: I believe that myth just came from the initial availability of VMware and that’s what itwas primarily used for. That’s the beginning of that myth.My experience is that our private cloud isnt a speciﬁc use case. A well designed private cloudshould and can support any use case. We have a private cloud infrastructure and on top of thisinfrastructure, we can deliver dev resources and test resources and QA resources, but theyre allsitting on top of a base infrastructure of a private cloud.But, there isnt just a single use case. It’s detrimental to deﬁne use cases for private cloud. I dontrecommend setting up a private cloud for dev only, another separate private cloud for test,another separate private cloud for QA. That’s where a use case mentality gets into it. You startdeveloping multiple private clouds.
If you combine those resources and develop a single private cloud, that lets you divide up theresources within the infrastructure to support the different requirements. So, it’s really backwardsthinking, counterintuitive, to try to deﬁne use cases for private cloud.Gardner: How about learning from that heritage, though? It’s almost like New York. If you cando it there, you can do it anywhere. Is there something to be said that private cloud supportingthe whole test, dev, and deploy or dev/ops type of lifecycle means it’s probably going to be quitecapable at supporting any number of workloads?Parker: Correct. We run everything on our private cloud. Our goal is 100 percent virtualizationof all servers, of running everything on our private cloud. That include back-ofﬁce corporate IT,Exchange services like domain controllers, SharePoint, and all of these systems run on top of ourprivate cloud out of our data centers.We dont have any of these systems running out of an ofﬁce, because we want the reliability thatthe cost savings that our private cloud gives us to deploy these applications on servers in the datacenter where these systems belong.Muelhoefer: Some of that myth is maybe because the original evolution of clouds started out inthe area of very transient workloads. By transient, I mean like a demo environment or somebodythat just needs to do a dev environment for a day or two. But, weve seen a transition across ourcustomers, where they also have these longer-running applications that theyre putting in theproduction type of environments, and they dont want to have to over-provision them.At the end of the quarter, you need to have a certain capacity of 10 units, you don’t want to havethat 10 units throughout the entire quarter as resource-hogs. You want to be able to ﬂex up andﬂex down according to the requirements and the demand on it. Flexing requires a different set oftechnology capabilities, having the right sets of business policies and deﬁning your applicationsso they can dynamically scale. I think that’s one of the next frontiers in the world of cloud.Gardner: Jay, I suppose thats particularly important for organizations that are in the business-to-consumer (B2C) business, that have web apps and others, they are facing their retail or otherconsumer bases. These could be ﬂexing based on certain demand or even seasonal ﬂuctuations,and certainly a much more cost-efﬁcient way to attack that problem would be through thesecloud infrastructures.Flexing capabilityMuelhoefer: Weve seen with our customers, there is a move towards different applicationarchitectures that can take advantage of that ﬂexing capability in Web applications and Javaapplications. Theyre very much in that domain, and we see that the next round of beneﬁts isgoing to come from the production environments. But it does require you to have a solidinfrastructure that knows how to dynamically manage ﬂexing over time.
It’s going to be a great opportunity for additional beneﬁts, but as Rick said, you dont want tobuild cloud silos. You dont want to have one for dev, one for QA, one for help desk. You reallyneed a platform that can support all of those, so you get the beneﬁts of the pooling. Its more thanjust virtualization. We have customers that are heavily VMware-centric. They can be highlyvirtualized, 60 percent-plus virtualized, but the utilization isn’t where they need it to be. And itsall about how can you bring that automation and control into that environment.Gardner: Next myth, it goes to Ajay. This is what I hear more than almost any other. There is nocost justiﬁcation. The cloud is going to cost the same or even more. Folks that seem to think thatthis is really going to have a long-term beneﬁt are kidding themselves. Weve seen this in the pastwith other shifts in computing. They always claim its going to cost less, but it never does. So,there is some cynicism out there, Ajay. Why is that cynicism unjustiﬁed?Patel: One of the main things that proves to be untrue is that when you build a private cloud,youre pulling in the capabilities of the IT technology that is building the individual islands ofenvironments. On top of it, youre increasing utilization. Today, in the industry, I believe theoverall virtualization is less than 40 percent. If you think about it, taking the less-than-40 percentvirtualized environment, the remaining is 60 percent.Even if you take 30 percent, which is average utilization -- 15-20 percent in the Windowsenvironment. By putting it on a private cloud, youre increasing the utilization to 60 percent, 70percent, 80 percent. If you can hit at 85 percent utilization of the resources, now you are buyingthat much less of every piece of hardware, software, storage, and network.When you pool all the different projects together, you build an environment. You put the rightinfrastructure in place with the ability to service your business, what you do successfully. Youend up saving minimally 20 percent, if you just keep the current service level agreements (SLAs)and current deliverables, the way you do today.But, if you retrain your staff to become cloud admins, to essentially become more agile in theability to create the workloads that are virtual capable versus standalone capable, you get muchmore beneﬁt, and your cost of entry is minimally 20-30 percent lower on day one. Goingforward, you can get more than 50 percent lower cost.Gardner: I would imagine that for large organizations, in some cases, their constraints, theirphysical plants, their large brick-and-mortar data centers are at capacity. So this isnt simplysaving costs operationally, but frees up capacity that they can use for other activities, andtherefore not have to build additional data centers. That could be a huge saving.Patel: Its killing two birds with one stone, because not only can you re-utilize your elasticity ofa 100,000 square-foot facility of data center, but you can now put in 2-3 times more computecapacity without breaking the barriers of the power, cooling, heating, and all the othercomponents. And by having cloud within your data center, now the disaster-recovery capabilitiesof cloud failover is inherent in the framework of cloud.
You no longer have to worry about individual application-based failover. Now, youre looking atfailing over an infrastructure instead of applications. And, of course, the framework of clouditself gives you a much higher availability from the perspective of hardware up-time and theSLA than you can obtain by individually building sets of servers with test, dev, QA, orproduction.Gardner: Ajay, when we talk about cost, I suppose another important criteria here is comparingold processes and methods to the new. Are there any metrics that youve been able to gatherabout how private cloud in a sense compresses and/or improves on how IT has done?Days to hoursPatel: Operationally beyond the initial set up of the private cloud environment, the cost to IT, inan environment and the IT budget goes down drastically on the scale based on our interaction toend-users and our cloud providers is anywhere from 11 days to 15 days down to 3-4 hours.This means that the hardware is sitting on the dock in the old infrastructure deployment model,versus the cloud model. And when you take 3-4 hours down into individual components it takesone to two to three days to build the server, rack it, power it, connect it.It takes ten minutes today within the private cloud environment to install the operating system. Itused to take one to two days, maybe two-and-a-half days, depending on the patches and the add-ons. It takes 30-60 minutes starting with a template that is available within private cloud and thensetting up the dev environments at the application layer, goes down from days down to 30minutes.When you combine all that, the operational efﬁciency you gain deﬁnitely puts your IT staff at amuch greater advantage than your competitor.Gardner: Ajay just pointed out that there is perhaps a business continuity beneﬁt here. If yourcloud is supporting infrastructure, rather than individual apps, you can have failover, reliability,redundancy, and disaster recovery at that infrastructure level. Therefore, having it across theboard.Is that something that youre seeing your customers use or is there a hybrid beneﬁt as well?Thats a roundabout way of asking whats the business continuity story and does that perhapsprovide a stepping stone to hybrid types of computing models?Parker: To backtrack just a little bit, at Fetch Technologies, weve cut our data-center cost in halfby switching to a private cloud. Thats just one of the cost beneﬁts that weve experienced.Going back to the private cloud cost, one of the myths is that you have to buy a whole new set ofcloud technology, cloud hardware, to create a private cloud. Thats not true. In most cases, anumber of the components of a private cloud is just redeployed existing hardware, because thecloud network is more of a conﬁguration than the speciﬁc cloud hardware.
In other words, you can reconﬁgure existing hardware into a private cloud. You dont necessarilyneed to buy, and there is really no such thing as speciﬁc cloud hardware. There are somehardware systems and models that are more optimal in a private cloud environment, but thatdoesnt necessarily mean you need to buy them to start. You get some initial cost savings, dovirtualization to pay for maybe more optimal hardware, but you dont have to start with the mostoptimal hardware to build a private cloud.As far as the business continuity, what weve found is that the beneﬁt is more for up timemaintenance than it is for reliability, because most systems are fairly reliable. You dont haveservers failing on a day-to-day basis.Zero downtimeWe have systems, at least one server, thats been up for two years with zero downtime. Forupdating ﬁrmware, we can VMotion servers and virtual machines off to other hosts, upgrade thehost, and then VMotion those virtual servers back on to the upgraded host so we have a zerodowntime maintenance. Thats almost more important than reliability, because reliability isgenerally fairly good.Gardner: Rick, at Fetch Technologies, weve been talking about cloud computing at almost anabstract level, but for end users, the folks who are actually using these applications, there mightbe some important beneﬁts for them that we havent looked at yet?Parker: Yes. The response that we got from the QA engineers that we rolled out Platform to wasthat it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, because theyre able to deploy new virtualmachines when they wanted to, when they needed them. They could change the conﬁguration ofthe virtual machines.They werent waiting for IT to respond different things. So just the almost ecstatic feedback fromthe end-users was different from a very few other applications that weve deployed. That wasextremely important.Gardner: Jay Muelhoefer at Platform, is there another underlying value here that by moving toprivate cloud, it puts you in a better position to start leveraging hybrid cloud, that is to say moreSaaS or using third-party clouds for speciﬁc IaaS and/or maybe perhaps over time moving part ofyour cloud into their cloud. Is there a beneﬁt in terms of getting expertise around private cloudthat sets you up to be in a better position to enjoy some of the beneﬁts of the more expensivecloud models?Muelhoefer: Thats a really interesting question, because one of the main reasons that a lot ofour early customers came to us was because there was uncontrolled use of external cloudresources. If youre a ﬁnancial services company or somebody else who has compliance andsecurity issues and you have people going out and using external clouds and you have novisibility into that, its pretty scary.
We offer a way to provide a uniﬁed view of all your IT service usage, whether its inside yourcompany being serviced through your internal organization or potentially sourced through anexternal cloud that people may be using as part of their overall IT footprint. Its really the abilityto synthesize and ﬁgure out - if an end user is making a request, whats the most efﬁcient way toservice that request?Is it to serve up something internally or externally, based upon the business policies? Is it usingvery speciﬁc customer data that cant go outside the organization? Does it have to use a certaintype of application that goes with it where theres a latency issue about how its served, and beingable to provide a lot of business policy context about how to best serve that whether its a cost,compliance, or security type of objective that you’re going against?That’s one key thing. Another important aspect we do see in our customers is the disasterrecovery and reliability issue is very important. Weve been working with a lot of our largercustomers to develop a unique ability to do Active/Active failover. We actually have customersthat have applications that are running real-time across multiple data centers.So, in the case of not just the application going down, but an entire data center going down, theywould have no loss of continuity of those resources. That’s a pretty extreme example, but it goesto the point of how important meeting some of those metrics are for businesses and making thatcost justiﬁcation.Stepping stoneGardner: We started out with some cynicism, risk, and myths, but it sounds like private cloudsare a stepping stone, but at the same time, they are attainable. The cost structure sounds veryattractive, certainly based on Rick and Ajay’s experiences.Jay, where do you start with your customers for Platform ISF, when it comes to ease ofdeployment? Where do you start that conversation? I imagine that they are concerned aboutwhere to start. There is a big set of things to do when it comes to moving towards virtualizationand then into private cloud. How do you get them on a path where it seems manageable?Muelhoefer: We like to engage with the customer and understand what their objectives are andwhats bringing them to look at private cloud. Is it the ability to be a lot more agile to deliverapplications in minutes to end users or is it more on the cost side or is it a mix between the two?Its engaging with them on a one-on-one basis and/or working with partners like Agilysys wherewe can build out that roadmap for success and that typically involves understanding theirrequirements and doing a proof of concept.Something that’s very important to building the business case for private cloud is to actually getit installed and working within your own environment. Look at what types of processes youregoing to be modifying in addition to the technologies that you’re going to be implementing, sothat you can achieve the right set of pooling.
You’re a very VMware centric shop, but you don’t want to be locked into VMware. You want tolook at KVM or Xen for non-production type use cases and what you’re doing there. Are youlooking at how can you make yourself more ﬂexible and leverage those external cloud resources?How can you bring physical into the cloud and do it at the right price point?A lot of people are looking at the licensing issue of cloud, and there are a lot of differentalternatives, whether its per VM, which is quite expensive, or other alternatives like per socketand helping build out that value roadmap over time.For us, we have a free trial on our website that people can use. They can also go to our website tolearn more which is http://www.platform.com/privatecloud. We deﬁnitely encourage people totake a look at us. We were recently named the number one private cloud management vendor byForrester Research. We are always happy to engage with companies that want to learn moreabout private cloud.Gardner: Very good. We’ve covered quite a bit of a ground, but were out of time. Youve beenlistening to a sponsored BrieﬁngsDirect podcast discussion on debunking myths on the road tocloud computing adoption. I want to thank our guests. Weve been joined by Ajay Patel, theTechnology Leader at Agilysys. Thanks so much, Ajay.Patel: Thank you very much for your time, Dana.Gardner: And, Rick Parker, IT Director at Fetch Technologies. Thank you, sir.Parker: You’re welcome.Gardner: And last, Jay Muelhoefer, Vice President of Enterprise Marketing at PlatformComputing. Thank you, Jay.Muelhoefer: Thanks Dana. I appreciate it.Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for listeningand come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor:Platform Computing Get a complimentary copy of the Forrester Private Cloud Market Overview from Platform ComputingTranscript of a sponsored podcast on the misconceptions that are preventing many enterprisesfrom embracing the reality of private cloud. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. Allrights reserved.
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