Since VMware vSphere and vCloud have been making the news discussing the future of the private cloud, I thought I would find out more about this cloud from a company who has been developing it and providing it to customers for many years now -- a company called Surgient.
To spotlight Surgient's forward thinking on the subject, not only has it been offering customers a private cloud solution for years, but it also holds an awarded patent that goes back to 2005 for the "virtualized logical server cloud." To find out more, I was fortunate to get a chance to speak with Surgient's CTO, Dave Malcolm.
[ Learn how early adopters of cloud computing have used the technology and the lessons they have learned. | See how Amazon, Google, and other cloud platforms stack up in the InfoWorld Test Center's comparison. ]
InfoWorld: It seems that a number of companies are now bringing cloud computing solutions to market. Where do you see Surgient in this market?
Malcolm: When talking about "cloud-based infrastructure," it is important to understand what is meant by that. The wide variation of definitions of cloud-based infrastructure has caused significant confusion in the industry. Here at Surgient, we define cloud-based infrastructure as a pool of abstracted, scalable, and self-managed infrastructure capable of running end-customer applications and billed or charged by consumption. These cloud infrastructures can be located internally to an organization or hosted externally by a third party.
We've actually long recognized how our technology can be used to create an internal, private cloud and were awarded a patent in 2005 for a "virtualized logical server cloud." Our technology optimizes the IT service delivery process through dynamic resource provisioning and heterogeneous infrastructure management and automation. We essentially create a cloud of internal virtual resources, which users access in a self-service manner, to configure specific computing environments for varied business tasks.
As you point out, there a number of companies coming to market with cloud solutions being delivered as a service, much like Amazon EC2, Google Apps, Microsoft Windows Azure, etc. Surgient, with our Virtual Automation Platform, enables Global 2000 corporations and managed service providers' operations teams to implement internal private clouds by providing the automated management, orchestration, and self-service of business services for their users.
InfoWorld: Are your current customers beginning to look for cloud solutions? And do you think your customers will adopt Surgient specifically to develop a private cloud?
Malcolm: Due to all of the hype about cloud computing, it is piquing the interest of many IT professionals. They want to know more about the topic, so Surgient, as a vendor with significant experience delivering cloud solutions, has seen significant increase in interest and demand.
Yes, many of our customers have adopted the Surgient Platform as a mechanism to implement their private clouds and have been getting the economic benefits for quite some time. We are seeing increased numbers of new prospects looking for cloud solutions, and Surgient's name comes up in the conversation.
InfoWorld: How will cloud computing impact -- if at all -- your traditional virtual lab market? Do you see them blending together?
Malcolm: I don't see the cloud computing impact to our traditional Test/QA lab automation solutions. Test/QA lab automation is just one use case in the broader cloud computing landscape. We continue to provide automation solutions leveraging virtualized infrastructure, including Test/QA, training, POC/evaluations, and a number of solutions for IT operations.
InfoWorld: For what sorts of internal needs should companies investigate private clouds from Surgient?
Malcolm: We are seeing a fairly broad range of private cloud use cases and automation scenarios. The most common is automation of the service request fulfillment process for delivering environments to individual developers, testers, and consultants. We are seeing increasing demand for automation of the IT service delivery process as enterprises are automating the engineering, validation, and production deployment of IT services and the continual change of these services. In addition, we have customers using Surgient to automate the Test/QA of service configurations, deployment of training environments, and the provisioning of environments for problem resolution cases. Finally, we are having early discussions with forward-thinking enterprises around what is required to deliver production enterprise clouds.
InfoWorld: Is it fair to say then that the technologies exist today for companies to deploy private clouds?
Malcolm: Absolutely, no question. Surgient has many customers who are gaining significant value from the implementation of these private clouds. These organizations are substantially reducing both their operating and capital expenditures while significantly increasing their business agility. They are seeing this value through the benefit of virtualized infrastructure coupled with the power of the Surgient Virtual Automation Platform.
I want to again thank Dave Malcolm, CTO of Surgient, for taking time out to speak with me about the company and the private cloud.