Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ode to George Jefferson, VMware and Nicira

RIP Sherman Helmsley, the great George Jefferson

VMware acquires Nicira

We’ll were movin on up
In the cloud stack
To a deluxe datacenter, made of software
Moving on up
In the cloud stack
We’re finally getting network marketshare.

VMs got stuck in the rack
VLANs just didn’t scale
Took a whole lotta tryin’
Configs not to let things fail
Now we’re up in the big leagues
Getting our turn at nets
As long cloud scales, it’s you and me baby
There ain’t nothing washed about that

We’ll were movin on up
In the cloud stack
To a deluxe DC, made of software
Moving on up
In the cloud stack
We’re finally getting network marketshare.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

In Technology, it's about 10 Years, not 100 Years

Silicon Valley is a strange anomaly in a big world. It's arguably the center of the technology universe, constantly cranking out new ideas, new products and new companies. And its residents create billions (or trillions) of dollars of revenue on the back on that technology. But Silicon Valley also has this self-belief that it's a romantic place, a modern day Camelot where the ills and evils of the world can be vanquished by spreading around magic silicon dust in just the right amounts. It looks to highlight the next 100 year company, which will cement it's place as a foundational pillar in the fabric of future global economies.

But there's a small problem with that romantic idea. That's not how the Silicon Valley DNA is wired. Regardless of whether or not people believe Silicon Valley is currently living in a bubble, its fabric is built on the creative desires of "what's next?" and not on "let's sustain this!".  In Silicon Valley, terms like "Serial Entrepreneur" are held in similar regard as "Doctor" or "Professor".  Nobody in Silicon Valley wants to be known as a 15yr veteran of Company X, that's not cool. They want to tell stories of their stealth start-ups and their IPOs, and how even though kids may have slowed them down a little, they are still active Angel investors and just had coffee with some Stanford kids that could be the next Google. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Evolution of "Hybrid Cloud"

For the past couple of years, we've heard the term "Hybrid Cloud" discussed as the nirvana that Enterprise IT is truly looking for as they consider new operating paradigms to better align business needs and evolving technology. "Hybrid Cloud" would be the bridge between the known entity ("Private Cloud", "resources within your Data Center", "virtualized legacy applications", etc.) and the new, dynamic entity ("Public Cloud"). There was just one small problem - this reality was a lot easier said than done (previously written about herehere, and here) . The list of challenges included:
  • Limited consistency between Public Clouds and Private Clouds (hypervisors, networking models, security models, authentication, APIs, etc.).
  • Data Gravity - the challenge of moving huge amounts of data (terabytes, petabytes) across the network in a reasonable amount of time, or at a reasonable cost.
  • Network Mobility - the challenge of trying to move a workload (VMs, applications) between different networking models.
Some of these challenges has been partially addressed by early technologies such as:
But none of these have achieved significant market penetration to date. This is partially because the initial users of Private Cloud vs. Public Cloud were different groups (IT vs. developers). Additionally, most legacy applications weren't designed for the dynamic scaling or availability advantages a hybrid cloud might offer. Furthermore, many IT organizations didn't want to be locked into a single Cloud Computing model that didn't give them price flexibility, geographic flexibility or application flexibility. In spite of all of this, the appeal of "Hybrid Cloud" is still there for many Enterprises that wish to find a balance between control and flexibility, between internal and external resources.

In recent months, this space has become somewhat more complicated (new Cloud offerings from Google, Microsoft, Rackspace, Tier 3 [podcast] and Virtustream [podcast]) and even fragmented as some experts suggest that "Enterprise Cloud" could actually be an internal-hybrid (web-scale and virtualization segmentation, within the same Enterprise). In addition, we've seen:
  • The introduction of several public and private OpenStack offerings 
  • The introduction of several PaaS platforms based on VMware CloudFoundry (AppFog, Tier 3, Uhuru [podcast], as well as several Microsoft and non-Microsoft .NET environments (Azure, Apprenda [podcast], Tier 3 - IronFoundry, Uhuru)
  • The introduction of several *-as-a-Service offerings to augment both public and private cloud offerings (eg. CloudPassage [podcast], CloudAccess [podcast], Cloudability [podcast]
The great news for IT organizations is that all of these new cloud offerings will drive competition, hence better pricing and flexibility for business needs. But the choices also create some new challenges - how to potentially manage many application across multiple clouds?

[UPDATE - July 2, 2012] George Reese wrote this post with his opinion about VMware's overall Cloud strategy, some of which was altered by their acquisition of DynamicOps.

What had been called "Hybrid Cloud" in the past was probably better characterized as "Hybrid Cloud v0.1". In some cases it worked, and it solved some challenges for the earliest of adopters, but it wasn't ready for mass adoption. But we've now moved into cloud maturity levels that should be called "Hybrid Cloud v1.0", where IT organizations (or lines of business) should be expecting greater flexibility: