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Cloud Computing: Article

Recession of 2008 Makes Cloud Computing the Biggest New IT Topic

Cloud computing has replaced virtualization as the new hot topic of 2008

If you take a step back and look at the last thirty years you’ll see a series of big bang effects from TCP/IP and application demand collisions. As we look forward five years into a haze of economic uncertainty, maybe it’s a proper time to take heed that the new demands of movement and change posed by virtualization and cloud computing need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

If these demands are not addressed, more enterprise networks will face diseconomies of scale as TCP/IP proliferates. They’ll experience additional availability and security challenges and will emerge when the haze clears at a competitive disadvantage after years of overpaying for fundamental things like IP address management (or IPAM). Most enterprises today are still managing IP addresses with manual updates and spreadsheets and paying the price, according to Computerworld research. How will that support increasing rates of change?

The Emergence of Connectivity Intelligence
As I mentioned one of the biggest challenges of virtsec was the inability of network appliances to see VMs and keep track of them as they move around inside a virtualized blade server environment (racks and stacks of powerful commodity servers deployed in a fluid pool that can add or remove servers/VMs on short notice and therefore operate with less power than the conventional data center with each server running a unique application or OS and therefore having to be powered 24/7).

The static infrastructure was not architected to keep up with these new levels of change and complexity without a new layer of connectivity intelligence, delivering dynamic information between endpoint instances and everything from Ethernet switches and firewalls to application front ends. Empowered with dynamic feedback, the existing deployed infrastructure can evolve into an even more responsive, resilient and flexible network and deliver new economies of scale.

A dynamic infrastructure would empower a new level of synergy between new endpoint and system initiatives (consolidation, compliance, mobility, virtualization, cloud) and open new markets for existing and emerging infrastructure players. Cisco, Juniper, F5 Networks, Riverbed and others who benefited from the evolving collisions between TCP/IP and applications could then benefit from the rise of virtualization and enterprise and service provider versions of cloud, versus watching it from the sidelines.

The Rise of Core Net Service Automation
That connectivity intelligence requirement will make core network service automation (DNS, DHCP, and IPAM, for example) strategic to infrastructure2.0. Most of these services are today manually managed. That means that network and system are connected and adjusted manually. More changes will mean more costs and more downtime and less budget for static infrastructure.

These networks need dynamic reachability (addressing and naming) and visibility (status and location) capabilities. In essence, I’m advocating the evolution of a central nervous system for the network capable of delivering commands and feedback between endpoints, systems and infrastructure; at the core it would be a kind of digital positioning system (DPS) that would enable access, policy, enforcement and flexibility without the need for ongoing and tedious manual intervention.

In between recent emails with Rick Kagan and Stuart Bailey (both also at Infoblox) Stuart recommended Morville’s “Ambient Findability”. I soon found out why. The following is from the online Amazon review:

“The book’s central thesis is that information literacy, information architecture, and usability are all critical components of this new world order. Hand in hand with that is the contention that only by planning and designing the best possible software, devices, and Internet, will we be able to maintain this connectivity in the future.”

In a recessionary scenario these labor-intensive strains will get worse as budgets and resources are trimmed. Rising TCO for infrastructure will impact the success of the infrastructure players as well as VMware, Microsoft and others, as virtsec friction has already impacted VMware. The virtualization players will be forced to build or acquire application layer and connectivity intelligence as a means of survival. They may not wait for the static team to convert to a more fluid vision.

That is why the fates of the static infrastructure players (and IT) will be increasingly tied to their ability to make their solutions more intelligent, dynamic and resilient. Without added intelligence today’s network players will benefit less and less from ongoing innovations that show no sign of slowing; the impacts of a recession would be made even more severe.

More Stories By Greg Ness

Gregory Ness is the VP of Marketing of Vidder and has over 30 years of experience in marketing technology, B2B and consumer products and services. Prior to Vidder, he was VP of Marketing at cloud migration pioneer CloudVelox. Before CloudVelox he held marketing leadership positions at Vantage Data Centers, Infoblox (BLOX), BlueLane Technologies (VMW), Redline Networks (JNPR), IntruVert (INTC) and ShoreTel (SHOR). He has a BA from Reed College and an MA from The University of Texas at Austin. He has spoken on virtualization, networking, security and cloud computing topics at numerous conferences including CiscoLive, Interop and Future in Review.

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