Cloud Computing is both inspiring and confusing to many people. When you realize the efficiency and cost savings offered by the cloud, you get inspired but when you listen to the marketing folks, you get confused. The reason is pretty straightforward. The marketing folks on the public cloud side wants you to believe that it is a miracle pill set out to cure all the problems of IT and if you listen to the marketing folks on the private cloud side, they will want you to shudder at the very thought of public clouds. The reality is somewhere in between.

Public clouds taught the world some important lessons. IT need not be unnecessarily complex and it can be simple. IT need not walk like a tortoise but can run like a hare and still be successful. IT need not be an economic fair weather friend but can grow even in recession. However, public clouds are not yet ready for large scale enterprise adoption because there are still issues related to security, performance and human psychology. If the traditional IT security kept IT managers awake in the night, the cloud security makes them wet the bed. There are still some performance issues related to network, storage I/O, etc. in the public clouds. Last, but definitely not the least, enterprise IT folks are still finding it difficult to accept that the ground under them has moved and it is time is running out fast for them to adapt or perish in the aftermath of the big shift.
The Problem
After some initial resistance, enterprise IT folks are buying into cloud computing. We are seeing more and more adoption of cloud computing from them. Only an irrational optimist will expect them to move to public clouds overnight. What I expect to see is a slow evolution in various stages.
  • In the first stage, enterprises learned from the public clouds and wanted to have the same kind of operational efficiency in house. This process has already started and is evident from a very vibrant private cloud marketplace
  • In the second stage, which is slowly starting to happen right now, enterprises are seeing the economic benefits of pushing non critical workloads to the public clouds (test, development, QA, training, etc.) and they also realize that the hybrid cloud approach to IT is the most efficient path to take till the public clouds mature in terms of performance and security. They are increasingly looking for solutions that will help them do the Hybrid cloud dance seamlessly from within an unified interface
  • In the final stage, as the security of public clouds improve drastically and the public cloud providers ensure consistently high performance within their infrastructure, economics will push most of the enterprise workloads into the public clouds. There may be some workloads (for example, in some highly regulated industries) that will reside inside the firewall but the rest will be on the public clouds. We are at least 5-10 years away from this stage. We need to get over the unnecessary public-private debates and unwanted posturing before we can get there.
Right now, we are in a situation where enterprises are keen on implementing the hybrid clouds but they don’t have the single unified solution to do it. More importantly, they want more than just a hybrid infrastructure. They want elastic business services on top of the hybrid clouds that can increase the efficiency of the enterprises while saving them tons of money. 
The Solution
The announcement made by newScale, rPath and Eucalyptus two days back is designed to tackle this very exact problem. There are three steps involved in solving the problem of delivering elastic business services. They are
  • Self Service Catalog – A self service portal where various enterprise business units can “buy” standardized service packages in a typical e-commerce way. Various business units within an organization should be able to choose different services based on their needs with an automated fulfillment and tracking initiated from the portal
  • Automation – The process of packaging, deploying and managing these workloads should be completely automated
  • Elasticity – There should be a highly scalable private cloud infrastructure underneath which could tap into public cloud resources based on the needs of different workloads
newScale, a leader in IT services catalog solutions, is well suited to handle the self service catalog of business services on the cloud. rPath, with their experience in managing the complete lifecycle of the enterprise applications, can handle the automation part of the package and Eucalyptus, with their current standing on the private cloud market, can provide the underlying infrastructure services. Since Eucalyptus plays well with Amazon APIs, it will be easy to tap into Amazon cloud while doing the hybrid cloud dance. These three players with some help from an enterprise IT consultancy group called MomentumSI can offer enterprises an easy path to hybrid clouds. 
What it means for these players
From my point of view, this partnership will make it easy for enterprises to buy into hybrid clouds. Along with the IT operational efficiency, enterprises will also see enormous cost savings. As far as the three players, newScale, rPath and Eucalyptus, are concerned, this partnership is more strategic than anything else. 
This will help newScale further consolidate their position as an IT service catalog provider and will help them cement their position in the enterprise cloud market. This is strategically more significant for both rPath and Eucalyptus Systems. rPath was ignoring the cloud wave for a long time with their insistence on traditional enterprise IT. In fact, they had even minimized the impact of cloud computing on the enterprises during the conversations they had with me in the past. Once they realized that cloud computing is gaining steam in the enterprise faster than what many pundits expected, they have shifted gears. This partnership gives them an opportunity to establish themselves as a player in cloud automation game and may even help them in any future consolidation in this space. Eucalyptus Systems has been slowly gaining traction in the enterprise market but the initial buzz they gained in the tech media has faded away. Even though Eucalyptus is focussed on the enterprise market and the recently announced Openstack is more directed towards service provider market, Eucalyptus doesn’t have the vibrant ecosystem of vendors around their platform like Openstack. They are not in a position to offer an end to end solution to the enterprises. By roping in some strong players in the self service catalog portal and automation, Eucalyptus can better position their platform and convince the reluctant enterprises that they can come to them for all their hybrid cloud needs. This is a marriage of convenience for all the three players and I expect to see some consolidation in the future as this space is ripe for such a thing to happen.
CloudAve is exclusively sponsored by
Krishnan Subramanian

Krish dons several avatars including entrepreneur in exile, analyst cum researcher, technology evangelist, blogger, ex-physicist, social/political commentator, etc.. My main focus is research and analysis on various high impact topics in the fields of Open Source, Cloud Computing and the interface between them. I also evangelize Open Source and Cloud Computing in various media outlets, blogs and other public forums. I offer strategic advise to both Cloud Computing and Open Source providers and, also, help other companies take advantage of Open Source and Cloud Computing. In my opinion, Open Source commoditized software and Cloud Computing commoditized computing resources. A combination of these two developments offers a strong competitive advantage to companies of all sizes and shapes. Due to various factors, including fear, the adoption of both Open Source and Cloud Computing are relatively slow in the business sector. So, I take it upon myself to clear any confusion in this regard and educate, enrich and advise users/customers to take advantage of the benefits offered by these technologies. I am also a managing partner in two consulting companies based in India. I blog about Open Source topics at http://open.krishworld.com and Cloud Computing related topics at http://www.cloudave.com.

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