Behnia: There are three critical elements that we're seeing across the various areas of cloud computing, whether that's infrastructure as a service, platform as a service or software as a service. First of all, the majority of the environments are virtualized. Most enterprises are not 100 percent virtualized. Many of the workloads and applications operate in nonvirtual environments. That's very important from a management standpoint.
The second characteristic is that they're highly automated, because you can argue that without automation you don't have a cloud. Amazon doesn't have hundreds of sys admins provisioning these servers. The third piece is that they're service-oriented -- in other words, typically there is a set of service offerings that are defined. You can think of it as a catalogue or a menu of items where you can define and differentiate tiers of service -- gold, silver, or bronze -- and bring forward things such as pricing.
Do customers want to manage their cloud environments with the same tools they use to manage their non-cloud environments?
Beauchamp: We've heard very loud and clear that they do not want to buy a new set of widgets to manage a new set of widgets. Customers have built workflows that they've adopted through the years. They need the tools to plug into those workflows. The fact that it's a cloud is really irrelevant. The customers just need to request a service, have the service provision, have some engine determine where is the least expensive and best-suited platform for the request, and then maintain the service level around the request with transparency and compliance. The fact it's on a cloud needs to be abstracted out of the discussion. That is an infrastructure discussion around a cost model and a delivery model, not an end-user decision.
So can you talk about the technology behind the scenes?
Behnia: The front end of this -- analogous to a restaurant or an online bookstore -- is a portal that would define a set of available offerings. Users can request the standard Linux desktop, regardless of whether that's physical or virtual, whether it's VMware or Zen, whether it's hosted in Amazon, or whether it's on premise.
The second portion is really around orchestration and placement, so that you can actually fulfill those requests and automate that. And this is where we have the broadest and deepest capability, being able to automate provisioning of not just servers, but also network configurations, applications and storage associated with that service.
What about the integration in this cloud environment -- if an IT shop is using your tools, but the cloud provider is not, or vice versa? How will you handle that integration to create a seamless management experience?