Cloud computing gets (a little) more real

HP rolls out a new cloud consulting practice, while Cisco takes a step toward erasing the line between the data center and the cloud

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The business driver for the private cloud is clear: Management wants to press a button and get what it needs, so that IT becomes a kind of service vend-o-matic. The transformation required to deliver on that promise seems absolutely immense to me. While commercial cloud service providers have the luxury of a single service focus, a full private cloud has an entire catalogue to account for -- with all the collaboration and governance issues that stopped SOA (service-oriented architecture) in its tracks.

The long, slow march toward greater agility and optimization of resources is basically the story of IT. It has had many names (beginning with re-engineering in the '80s), and HP has done a pretty good job of articulating the latest cloud version. And as Kedrie points out, the abundance of horsepower and bandwidth today -- not to mention the acute pain of managing increased complexity -- could let cloud computing succeed where previous grand designs failed.

But trust me, it will be incremental. People will buy bundled solutions from HP and IBM to cloud-enable this and that service inside the firewall. Advances like Cisco's OTV will make integration with service provider offerings more feasible. Meanwhile, vendors will try their usual lock-in ploys, and enterprise IT managers will protect their turf from disruptive change. It's an old story, but the creative efforts to tell it in a new way are, after all, what keep IT moving forward.

This article, "Cloud computing gets (a little) more real," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog and follow the latest developments on cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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