Q&A with Floyd Strimling of Zenoss

By Floyd Strimling (Profile)
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Wednesday, September 12th 2012
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VSM: What is Cloud Bursting and how will that affect clouds, if at all?

FS: Cloud bursting is this mythical notion that under certain pre-defined load conditions, applications will simply add additional capacity within a public cloud. However, the laws of physics and current application design make true elastic cloud bursting nothing more than a dream. In reality, cloud bursting requires the pre-positioning of applications housed within their virtual machines hosted at a chosen cloud provider. Once turned on, these newly instantiated virtual machines become part of the service infrastructure and reduce overall load. The architecture and concept is sound, but applications need to be designed to take advantage of “bursting” while DevOps with its autonomic nature will need to be deployed.

VSM: What is driving the trend towards cloud management and automation?

FS: One word comes to mind, complexity. While the word “cloud” conjures up feelings of simplicity, the reality is cloud computing is quite difficult. IT has enough trouble maintaining the legacy infrastructure and applications from yesterday’s static paradigm. Now imagine taking that paradigm and turning it on its head by introducing dynamic infrastructure and virtualization across every layer within the datacenter. Compute, storage, virtualization, applications, and now networking are changing before our very eyes and unbreakable silos are falling. Therefore the trend toward cloud management and automation is an absolute necessity as we have reached the tipping point of what human beings can process within a timely fashion. 

VSM: Will cloud washing be enough to win in 2012?

FS: No, thankfully it is not enough to simply cloud wash your company’s products or the entire company itself. Applications must be written in a way that provides both agility and elasticity. It’s fairly easy to flush out a cloud washed product by simply testing the claims of the vendor against the true capabilities of the solution. The companies that are going to win in 2012 are open, agile, innovative, and disruptive that solves real business problems and lead to a real ROI.

VSM: What will Microsoft's next move be?

FS: These days, it seems that nearly every one is counting out Microsoft. The fact is that Microsoft is still a force within IT and generates billions of dollars of revenue a year. While it is clear that Microsoft was slow to the virtualization party, they have come back with a vengeance by recognizing one basic fact, the hypervisor is a commodity. Rather than charging a premium for Hyper-V, Microsoft took the road-less-traveled and commoditized their solution. This led many to believe that Microsoft was focused on the SMB market but I believe that was a rouse. Microsoft was simply buying time for their internal development and ecosystem to catch-up to their grand plan. Microsoft needs to solidify them within the private cloud market and there are many tempting traditional software or SaaS acquisitions that would give them that market. I’d also like to see Microsoft get more involved with provisioning and the idea of a programmable datacenter while getting serious about OpenStack.