Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is Cloud Computing a growth driver for Enterprise Server & Server Platforms!

SMB spending on cloud computing would reach $100B by 2014.

Cloud computing market to reach $160 billion by 2011

By 2014, IDC predicts, sales of cloud computing products or services will generate almost $56 billion in annual revenues.

Virtualization was hot couple of years back as cloud computing is today and both are phenomenal approaches to make the IT lean. Virtualization has lead to easy and seamless agile deployment of applications and Virtual workloads. Though at same time it is agile and quick it does lead to resources sprawl if not planned and controlled well. Virtualization has definitely brought savings but not operational savings. In fact the resources sprawl and new technologies have led to higher operational expenditure and Technology education expenditure.  Cloud computing is in  focus more today as you can save on capital as well as some operational expenses by putting some of your IT workloads into a public, private or hybrid cloud model which again could be platform/software/infrastructure as service. Though cloud computing is very attractive approach but still it does not fit to all and has its own security challenges so in ideal world enterprises are planning to leverage different models of cloud depending on the workload and also are at same time using virtualized and physical workloads. Simple old golden rule..don’t put all eggs in same basket! Global IT is still in transition state.

So while Virtualization does require high compute servers so that you can consolidate your workloads and reduce carbon/space and improve resource utilization on other hand it does lead to server growth as IT budgets are being exercised on upgrading physical servers and also newer more productive and efficient Operating systems like windows server 2008 R2 which are more suitable for virtualization. Virtualization is a relatively new technology and has lead to more operational and in house IT worker training costs.

Cloud computing focuses more on reducing capital expenses while providing on demand resource elasticity as a measured service via Network access. On the cloud provider end he can do resource pooling for various customers in a secure fashion and can achieve better utilization of resources. As cloud computing is in nascent stage we are seeing various big players like Microsoft, VMware, Amazon, HP & IBM and other small cloud providers getting ready for providing cloud services and building their datacenters and hence again server growth.

The key is to reduce the Operational expenses of virtualized and physical workloads by capitalizing on infrastructure automation of datacenters. Large enterprises can consider workload/application migration to private clouds spanned across different divisions within Enterprise.

Microsoft not only provides its customers, Windows Azure cloud for Migrating applications to cloud [platform as a service model], it also has a complete system center suite for IT infrastructure management, monitoring & automation. At same time Microsoft and other large vendors are working together in enabling enterprises build their own private clouds for example Recent announcement of HP and Microsoft together showcasing a private cloud for their customers. Also, HP and Microsoft plan to release a limited production Windows Azure platform appliance for deployment in HP data centers by the end of the year. Recent release of System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal 2.0. will also help customers to build their own private clouds.

The good thing is that IT budgets being spent on new hardware is beneficial as both Intel and AMD processors now come with virtualization friendly features like secondary level address translation which improve performance as Hyper-V 2.0 capitalize on SLAT and provides improved performance and more VM density Coupled with Dynamic Memory. IT Infrastructure automation of datacenters with Microsoft system center suite coupled with windows server 2008 R2 features is a win for the customers for cost savings and at same time they can leverage windows Azure cloud for application hosting and testing. What I found more interesting is that even if you are not using a Microsoft cloud solution you will still end up using Microsoft platform i.e. server 2008/R2 as is the case with VMware VCloud Director which let users create their own private cloud.  So Microsoft is the only solution provider today which has both cloud and server Platform solutions. The unfolding time will tell us more about how clouds bring change in our day to day datacenter operations and management. These changing trends in Global IT is definitely making IT more lean, cost efficient and at same time not only cloud computing is growing but also propelling growth of servers and server platforms.


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