Could Vertical Public Clouds Become Reality in Europe?

  • John Marcus

    John Marcus

    Most vertical cloud solutions to date have been industry applications offered as a service

  • Public cloud services dedicated to key verticals could remove some barriers to utility computing adoption

Some vertical cloud service offerings have been around for some time, although not quite as long as horizontal SaaS offerings for applications like CRM. In Europe, there are a handful of consortia and trading platforms ranging from the UK public sector’s G-Cloud to the EU scientific community’s Helix Nebula cloud marketplace, the latter supported by Atos, CGI, CloudSigma, T-Systems and others. In both cases, end user organizations have the choice of a range of providers for a number of defined solutions across IaaS, SaaS, PaaS and value-added services. Individual service providers have well-developed solutions for core verticals – e.g., healthcare, financial trading and e-commerce – but the focus there tends to be on business applications. Read more of this post

The Importance of Programming an ADC

Mike Fratto

Mike Fratto

Summary Bullets:

  • Application delivery controllers are an integral part of your application stack.  They need to be treated as first-class citizens and incorporated into any hybrid cloud strategy.
  • Matching an ADC, supported cloud service and platform, and integration strategy is critical to enabling applications that can run anywhere with ease.

One of the motivating factors for virtual application delivery controllers (ADCs) is the ability to include the entire set of servers and services that make up an application into a logical group that can be moved easily from physical and virtual servers to a public cloud.  If you take the time to tune your ADC for a particular application running in your data center and you want to move it to a cloud service, your only options for an ADC are limiting yourself to the cloud services that can run your virtual ADC or using the cloud provider’s load balancing service, which may even be using products that are far more capable than the features exposed to customers, but the result is basic load balancing as a service and not much else.  Running a vendor’s virtual ADC in a cloud environment requires that the vendor supplies a VM built and tested on that cloud service and offered through the service’s application store. Read more of this post

Connecting to Your Cloud Provider – Internet, Direct Connect or Use the IP VPN?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • There are no real technical differences between cloud connectivity portfolios and traditional data connectivity
  • Public, private and hybrid cloud solutions are supported by different connectivity options from shared to dedicated infrastructure
  • Connectivity is largely provided on-net from operators, but other players such as collocation houses may offer a range of options through third party relations

When considering how to connect your business to cloud solutions, including IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, there are a wide variety of options. If the services can be supported by best-effort, then public Internet with IPSec can suffice with the benefit of a low-cost base. However, a private cloud will give more security and resilience and can be provisioned by your service provider via a break out from a corporate IP/MPLS VPN solution to the carrier’s MPLS network and over an NNI to the cloud provider. That’s assuming of course that a corporate IP VPN solution is already in place, because building one from scratch is not a low-cost route. Read more of this post

Monitoring and Managing Business Applications in Hybrid Clouds: Technical Elegance or Road-kill?

Joel Stradling

Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Monitoring the health of virtual infrastructure, for example on-demand computing resources and business-critical applications, running across hybrid clouds is a challenge
  • New generation cloud-aware and software management developers such as Intigua are emerging to help simplify unchartered waters of virtualizing servers, networks, and storage infrastructure

A lot of enterprises do not have even basic applications performance management and monitoring tools in place, especially where the applications in use work just fine on a best effort traffic basis, so applications that are non-latency dependant, and non-critical to business function or production. The contrast to this is where applications are seen as business-critical and in such cases the organization’s IT department is most likely to invest in an applications performance management (APM) solution from a range of choices. Service providers have made progress to meet the need for visibility on the WAN for business critical applications they are running on behalf of clients with the result all the major carriers offering data networks services proffer a backing range of APM solutions for customers. The same is nearly true for cloud-based service, but not quite! The industry is pretty good at monitoring and managing performance of physical network and infrastructure, including in the WAN. There are plenty of legacy premises-based choices, and software for management, but the cloud-aware and virtualized management layer for multiple IT resources sitting on distributed and shared cloud platforms is more of a work in progress. Read more of this post

Beware of Public Clouds Bearing Too Many Gifts

B. Shimmin

B. Shimmin

Summary Bullets:

  • Public cloud services break the typical 18 month product revision cycle down into smaller, more rapid releases, a practice that varies widely among vendors in terms of frequency, focus (bugs vs. new features) and flexibility.
  • To avoid heavy deployment, training and support issues stemming from quick revision cycles, customers must demand options typically found in on-premises software.

Last week brought an animated and often heated blow up between Oracle’s Larry Ellison and Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff over the best way to deliver a public cloud offering. The argument, which played out publicly across keynotes given by both men during Oracle’s OpenWorld 2011 conference in San Francisco, centered upon whether or not Salesforce.com’s cloud was indeed open and whether or not Oracle’s newly launched Public Cloud platform was in fact a public cloud. Such a public debate can only serve to ultimately make things easier for enterprise IT departments by exposing many of the often overlooked issues associated with cloud-borne software such as partial multitenancy or API-induced data siloing. But to this analyst’s mind, the debate missed what is the biggest hidden ‘gotcha’ – the breakneck speed at which cloud-centric vendors revise their software.

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