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The Journey From Virtualization to Cloud – Highlights from #cloudtalk

Last Tuesday, we hosted our #cloudtalk on the journey from virtualization to cloud. Special thanks to everyone who participated in the chat for making it a lively and provocative discussion. We also wanted to thank Kurt Milne (@kurtmilne) and Bryan Bond (@VMJedi) for co-hosting the chat with us!

The discussion started off with the question, “What does the journey from virtualization to cloud mean to you?”

@millardjk was the first to chime in, stating that virtualization is a datacenter without automation, self-service or elasticity, while cloud brings all three with it. @tcrawford suggested that cloud is a maturity beyond virtualization in the progression of resource management. @jtimdodd stated that going from virtualization to cloud was going from an internal virtual infrastructure to an external environment that can scale on demand.

Several others chimed with their views, including @Dana_Gardner, who noted that going from virtualization to cloud means taking a utilization benefit to a IT transformation/strategy. @maishsk brought up a very interesting point, stating that virtualization is a consolidation/migration of workloads and cloud is more about process and culture, which @jakerobinson agreed with.  All seemed to agree after Kurt stated that “Cloud requires letting go of some traditional IT ops practices”.  @jamesurqhart built upon Kurt’s view, making the point that cloud also means adopting new IT practices and skills.

We then asked participants if there were any key decisions one should look at when considering making the move from virtualization to cloud.

Co-host @VMJedi made a great point, claiming that while automation is important, getting out of the hardware maintenance and upgrade business is a huge driver for making the decision of virtualization to cloud. @Dana_Gardner talked about how organizations must decide to support a class of requirements all at once, if they want to build a repeatable fabric and if apps have to align to it. @lmacvittie discussed how decisions must balance control and agility – how some things need control, while others do not. The decision that needs to made were to figure out what applications or processes need the control and to decide to let go of what does not.

The conversation soon shifted as soon as we asked participants if they have taken steps from virtualization to cloud and if so, what roadblocks or challenges have they encountered?

Our co-host @VMJedi shared that flexible scalability “in house” is starting to become an increasingly difficult thing to do, without the agility to maneuver changes rapidly. @tcrawford suggested that too many companies are looking at the move from virtualization to cloud as a tech swap, as doing this they miss core changes and significant opportunities. @kelvinpapp shared a similar sentiment that the biggest challenge is dismissing the perception that cloud equals a loss of control, and he suggested that organizations should instead view cloud as an opportunity. Almost all agreed about one of the main difficulties for companies is finding the opportunity and value in the process of changing from virtualization to cloud.

@davidmdavis then asked participants what exactly is stopping companies from using hybrid cloud? @joshcoen stepped in and answered, sometimes the company environment just does not allow for it. Sometimes there are disparate sites and latencies higher than one second.

Security popped up as a roadblock on the move from virtualization to cloud, as well as being a potential issue stopping companies from using hybrid cloud. This brought us to ask what the best practices in approaching cloud security are.

@jgershater noted that security is a shared responsibility – the provider secures the premises and firewall, while the customer secures the app and VM. @kurtmilne brought up how every IT shop tends to think that their security is above average and needs a reality check. He also went on to say that organizations need to recognize private and public resource pools and how IT is responsible for many activites that can impact security posture. @Dana_Gardner said that one of the best practices for cloud security was to focus on access control over perimeter control, which @lmacvittie agreed with, also adding app and data control as important focus areas. @jamesurquhart agreed with both, stating to “layer them turtles, but get those turtles talking to each other.”

We then asked participants, “When crafting cloud strategy, how do users decide what to focus their POC on?”

Co-host @VMJedi shared that in eMeter’s personal POC, he included security performance and ease of deployment. @KongYang answered that strategy should always be predicated on solving customer issues and addressing customer needs. He went on to say that the customer should always be top of the mind. @Dana_Gardner  said that the proof-of-concept should show ROI, saying that he isn’t sure it is a success without a demonstrated and repeatable economic benefit.

Later, we asked how users select cloud providers that align with their cloud vision or strategy.

@lmacvittie said that when selecting a cloud provider, they should ask several questions and talk to other organizations using providers on their list, which @KongYang agreed with. @KongYang also recommended to try before you buy, as well as verifying the SLA before committing.  @maishsk  cited portability, checking to see how easy it is to move workloads in and out of the cloud.

Co-host @kurtmilne posed one of the final questions, asking what inning we’re in, as far as IT Operations transformation for new SDDC and Cloud Operations practices.

The general populous of the chat seemed to agree that the game is nowhere finished. @maishsk said we are only in the bottom of the third inning. @shawncarey went as far to say that the game is just getting started, with players still warming up! @Dana_Gardner agreed with Shawn, saying we’re in the pre-game stage, only getting to the locker room and putting equipment on.

@GeorgeReese even got his two cents in towards the end of #cloudtalk, telling the chat that approvals processes kill when it comes to cloud and if you need a PO, it isn’t cloud.

Thank you to everybody who listened or participated in our #cloudtalk, and stay tuned details around our next #cloudtalk! In the meantime, be sure to check out our Google+ Hangout on the Software-Defined Datacenter today at 10am PT! Feel free to tweet us at @vCloud with any questions or feedback!