In cased you missed it, Cloud Computing was a big topic at Catalyst this year. This morning sessions were truly outstanding. Chris Howard kicked it off by discussing the business motivations to externalize IT. One of his main points was that IT tends to make (or build) the things that are "core" to the business and externalize (or expense) those things that are non-essential. This creates a "post-modern" IT model where the strategic is kept internally and uses the cloud to augment less strategic IT services...enabling IT organizations to focus on driving their core business.
After Chris, I presented Burton Group's cloud view -- discussing the value of cloud computing, defining a cloud strategy, cloud definition and tiered architecture model to set the stage for additional presentations today. Burton Group defines cloud as:
The set of disciplines, technologies, and business models used to render IT capabilities as an on-demand, elastic, scalable service.
The tiered architecture model:
(Actually we declared these several months ago)
Next, Andrew Kaczorec from Eli Lilly gave an excellent presentation about how they leverage EC2 to ramp up compute power for scientific applications, but also how the cloud is a consideration for more enterprise IT applications in the future.
Bill Peer, from International Hotel's Group, spoke on developing your "inner cloud". If you haven't heard Bill speak, you must go! He's so entertaining, you almost forget your learning something. Anyway -- Bill spoke about how IHG is developing an internal cloud using VMware before moving to the external cloud. They have too many concerns over data security, availability, vendor lock-in, and poor SLAs to take the plunge just yet. But -- his point was -- developing an internal cloud is an excellent way to get ready for the internal cloud because it helps the entire organization prepare for service consumption.
Peter Coffee from Salesforce.com did an excellent job discussing PaaS, where Salesforce is headed with Force.com, and the added benefits for using PaaS over IaaS. Peter and I had a good discussion about SLAs (or lack thereof) with Salesforce. His point was that no SLA is going to reimburse the consumer for business lost...only for service outage at best. Also, that SF.com post their uptime record. My point was there are customers who simply won't do business with cloud vendors (or any service vendor) without and SLA. The SLA is not there to protect from business loss, but to serve as a mutual understanding of service quality expectation. That way, when a dispute arises, a third party (legal) can judge if there is a breach of contract. It also gives customers a level of surety that vendors will meet certain service level quality.
Finally, Raghu Raghuram -- GM for VMware's Server Business -- spoke on the Data Center of the Future. Raghu spoke about how the vSphere platform is the new cloud OS and they are enabling vendors and customers alike to build their own clouds.
All in all, it was a great morning. Tons of great customer questions.
BTW -- Burton Group is recording all of these sessions. They will be available very soon.
[posted by: Drue Reeves]