IBM has had a busy week, cloud computing-wise, but it's not the only company making such waves. Savvis is embarking on Thursday on an ambitious plan to offer enterprise customers a complete virtualized datacenter. Amazon.com, meanwhile, joined up with Big Blue and DataSynapse in separate partnerships.
The common thread among all the announcements is the aim of providing customers with more flexibility in managing infrastructure resources that reside in the cloud.
[ These announcements are in line with the prediction that cloud computing will be a big IT trend in 2009 | Keep up with cloud trends with whurley's cloud computing blog | Find out what cloud computing really means ]
Savvis CTO Bryan Doerr explains his company's ultimate goal: "The grand vision is that we'll have a cloud that gives our clients the ability to do entire datacenter outsourcing that applies all the best practices of security, storage, and networking."
Toward that end, the company on Thursday took a first step by unveiling the Savvis Compute Cloud, which, Doerr explains, brings two primary benefits to customers: the ability to perform more self-directed tasks for managing hosted pieces of a datacenter and a multitenant option.
The latter enables companies to sign up for a slice of the hardware rather than a dedicated system, thereby offering a finer granularity of capacity while cutting costs. Perhaps most important, though, are the new self-service capabilities that enable customers to log in to SavvisStation portal to provision virtual compute and storage capacity within either private or shared infrastructure resources, the company says.
Presently, managed hosting is "kind of a black box" in which customers don't have much visibility into their applications or infrastructure and often need to submit work orders to hosts like Savvis, says Melanie Posey, research director of hosting and telecom services at IDC.
"The first thing that has to happen before this grand vision of cloud computing can be realized is service provider offerings that give customers' continued visibility into and control of the IT infrastructure that their applications are running on," Posey explains. Such control, in turn, "makes it easier for some customers to feel comfortable with outsourcing. They still have a level of control even though the actual infrastructure lives outside the enterprise datacenter," she adds.
Indeed, Doerr says that Savvis will follow Thursday's news with an ongoing series of announcements throughout 2009 and beyond. The next set of steps involves another dimension of the cloud paradigm. "Our goal is to give users enough control to amplify the rewards of hosting while dialing the risk down," Doerr adds.