Every cloud has an infra lining - on managing heterogeneous data centers - Part 1

In an article I read recently, the author discusses how a CMDB and a service catalog are needed in order to manage private clouds. You can read the article here.

 

I think the author was spot on regarding the necessity of a CMDB even in a cloud dominated world. I claim that regardless of which stage of adoption of the cloud technology you are currently at, a CMDB accompanied with the right enterprise applications can bring you great value.

 

The main point I keep making in sessions with colleagues and customers is that managing data centers in the foreseeable future means the consolidated management of both legacy and cloud environments. Even the cloud itself will be composed of both private and public cloud consumption so as a vendor of management software it is critical for us to allow you, our customers, to maintain and manage those environments in a way which is as homogeneous as possible. You wouldn’t want to maintain separate change processes for your legacy and your private cloud’s infrastructure would you? We all know by now that at some level, your cloud supporting infrastructure and your legacy infrastructure intersect. It could be at the network infrastructure level or perhaps have a common power supply but it makes perfect sense for you to demand uniform tools and procedures across the environment.

 

I believe that most of our enterprise customers will manage such heterogeneous environments for quite some time for the following reasons:

  • Rate of adoption – our customers are usually battle tested and savvy. They have heard many promises before and will tread these new waters very carefully. For simple reasons of risk management, we will see a gradual adoption that will increase as the industry learns more about what others are doing and decide on an appropriate course of action. According to Gartner reports, cloud computing should now be in the process of exiting its “peak of inflated expectations” stage and beginning its descent towards the “trough of disillusionment” of the hype cycle.
  • Issues of control – taking your mission critical services and placing them on a public cloud is something that many customers are currently reluctant to do due to lack of control over the data and its security, issues of data location with various laws and regulations limiting this at times and lack of direct control over availability when things do go wrong with the service as currently, this simply comes down to managing a contract with the supplier of the service. Going forward we will probably see technological and contractual solutions to these issues but currently, those are very limited.
  • Verifying performance – often times, the service consumed is part of a wider service – perhaps a single step in it, and as part of testing the complete service for performance, customers currently find it difficult to do performance testing on public cloud services. In some cases doing so can result in lawsuits as this would be a violation of contract.
  • Job security – despite the well crafted vision of IT executives becoming less operations oriented and more service brokers, this transition will take time. Think of what it took until today to be promoted in IT – the personality traits, the skill set etc’. People in senior positions promote people who possess such attributes. If adopting a high percentage of public cloud strategy means you will become less relevant (leaving aside objective difficulties stated above), you will find ways of slowing it down with very good reasoning to back it up. This is human nature.
  • Homegrown applications - It will take years for some homegrown applications to be replaced and chances are that most of the ones that exist today were not designed with cloud in mind.

See you next time when I talk about some relevant use cases.

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About the Author
I'm a 20 year veteran in the software industry with experience ranging from control systems, communications systems, RAD systems and for the...


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