A way out of the private cloud dead end

With the emergence of a few key products, it's clear that IT's current focus on private clouds needn't become a dead end

A trend circulating among both the cloud computing upstarts and their corporate equivalents is the ability to offer a private cloud infrastructure with a clear and easy glide path to public clouds. We'll see a few of these at VMworld this week, including one from EMC VMware itself.

The idea is compelling. We know, Mr. or Ms. CIO, that you've not bought into the public cloud concept yet; for you, going cloud means more of a private cloud affair. However, what if you could have your cake and eat it too, including creating workloads on private clouds that are easily portable to public clouds now or in the future? That could give those on the fence about private versus public cloud computing a, well, much wider fence.

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The good news, Mr. or Ms. CIO, is that vendors are now providing that cake that you can have and eat too.

Nimbula, which is bringing to market a "cloud operating system" and demoing it at the VMworld show in San Francisco this week, is looking to become the open bridge between private and public clouds as well. Nimbula Director provides Amazon EC2-like services behind the firewall, allowing access to remote public cloud resources as needed via a common set of services that spans public and private cloud technology. These types of abstraction technologies will be front and center in the world of cloud computing in 2011, including workload portability, security, and management.

Of course VMware is not going to allow others to come in and dig into its dominance around virtualization as a foundation of cloud computing, so it is announcing VMware VCloud Director this week. This product promises to provide easy allocation of resources within private clouds, as well as a portable glide path to public clouds. (It also looks like the "director" word is becoming popular!)

Understanding that hybrid clouds are the next push, the larger cloud providers are on the hunt for technology companies to buy that have anything in their arsenal to assist them in moving faster into the market. I suspect that between now and the holidays, the number and frequency of the acquisitions will be staggering. Can you say 1998?

That's good news for IT, which will have more opportunity to tap the public cloud safely and not end up with a private-only cloud strategy that turns out to be just the newest flavor of the same old traditional data center.

This article, "A way out of the private cloud dead end," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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