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Author Archives: Murthy Mathiprakasam

What is the difference between virtualization and private cloud?

I promised in an earlier post to talk more about customer
practices in evolving to cloud computing. 
Specifically, one of the questions we get around cloud evolution is, “My
organization has adopted vSphere and virtualized the majority of our internal datacenter
resources.  Does this mean I have a
private cloud?”  There actually are some critical
differences between an environment with large amounts of virtualization and one
with a private cloud.

Many of you probably had a chance to travel during the
recent long weekend.  For those of you
who travel by air frequently, you’ve probably noticed that the time required to
check-in and get boarding passes has dramatically come down in the last ten
years.  I still remember the old days
when getting a boarding pass required standing in a long line with a paper
ticket.  The airlines initially took a lot of cost out of the process by implementing unified electronic ticketing
systems.  These electronic systems drove
a lot of consolidation and consistent management for the airlines.  But most of us as passengers barely felt any
impact from those internal operational efficiencies.

We felt the impact when the airlines finally introduced
self-check-in kiosks.  Self-check-in
kiosks did reduce costs for the airlines. 
But the real impact of self-check-in kiosks was to:

  • increase the number of passengers that a ticketing agent could process
  • decrease the amount of time that a passenger had to wait get what they needed

This is what cloud computing is all about. 

And if you don’t believe me, check out what Malaysia
Airlines just launched at Kuala Lumpur Sentral Station:  http://www.etravelblackboard.com/showarticle.asp?id=105995&nav=2

IT organizations have gained a lot of operational
efficiencies from virtualization. 
Consolidating infrastructure and unifying management has definitely
helped to reduce costs.  But have line of
business users really felt the impact yet? 
Perhaps they have felt some, but they will certainly feel the impact
when IT implements a private cloud.

Much like the self-check-in kiosks at the airport, a private
cloud

  • increases the number of provisioning requests
    that an IT admin can process
  • decreases the amount of time that a user has to
    wait to get what they need

A private cloud also offers additional economic
benefit.  In the airport example, when
customers know they have to wait a long time to be checked in, all they could
do is show up to the airport earlier. 
But in the IT world, when users realize there is a long cycle time for
IT provisioning, they start requesting more resources than they actually need
to hedge against the long provisioning cycle. 
By offering the promise of immediate self-service, through a VM catalog attached
to chargeback, business users are more likely to consume only what they need,
which itself will drive down overall costs.

So although extensive virtualization and private cloud both address
cost reduction, private cloud really is about something more.  It’s about getting business users to finally
feeling the impact of IT evolution.  It’s
about making the process of getting IT resources as easy as it is to get a
boarding pass at the airport.  In
following posts, I’ll talk more about specific customers who have done this
inside their environments. 

 

Three types of applications that are best suited for the Private Cloud

I had an experience recently that helped me understand how
companies should think about deploying Private Clouds in their organizations.

I went to my local bank branch to deposit a check I had
received.  As I was about to enter the teller
line, a bank employee asked me if I had used their new ATM station that
supported automated check deposits.  She walked
me outside and trained me on how I could make my deposit without having to talk
to a bank teller.

How brilliant was that! 
The bank had come up with a cost-effective way to service my request through
standardization and automation!  But to
do this, they must have identified which types of requests could be serviced
through the ATM and which ones would still be best served by the teller.

One of the questions we at VMware get a lot is, “If I want
to take advantage of the rapid provisioning and self-service capabilities of a
Private Cloud, what types of applications would benefit most from this model?”

We’ve found from the customers we’ve talked to that 3 types
of applications tend to be the best suited for the Private Cloud:

  • Transient apps – applications that will be
    rapidly cloned or re-allocated, like stage or pre-production environment, are great candidates for automation since there’s very little configuration differences between environments.
  • Elastic apps – applications where the resource demand will vary greatly over time, like with scientific computation, are also good choices since resource capacity can be extended very easily
  • The “Long Tail” of apps – applications that never get prioritized by IT, like a customized web farm for an extranet, are also a great fit since a Private Cloud may
    finally allow these applications to be provisioned at a cost that justifies
    their relatively smaller value.

Of course, there’s no reason to lose focus on virtualizing
all of your business-critical applications to get the benefits of higher
utilization and lower cost.

But as IT thinks about shifting specific workloads to the
Private Cloud to reduce costs and improve service, much like my bank shifted my
request to the ATM, these types of applications are a perfect place to start.  If your organization has applications that
are transient, elastic, or considered “long tail,” I’d recommend accelerating
your virtualization efforts with these apps and starting a dialogue with users
about moving to a self-service Private Cloud model.  In future posts, I’ll talk more specifically about
how customers have actually gone about evolving virtualized architecture into
Private Clouds and what types of learning and practice they gained in the
process.

Cloud computing: it’s an approach, not a destination

Hi, my name Murthy Mathiprakasam. I joined VMware last week as a product marketing manager.

The first few weeks at any job are a blur of ramping up, learning the lingo, and generally drinking from the fire hose.  At VMware, this is all in hyperdrive.  Not only is there a lot of exciting stuff going on over here, there are also a dizzying amount of tech terms and acronyms.  Through it all, one word has come up in almost every meeting and conversation I’ve had: Cloud.  

Now, I have to admit, I’ve always found the term and the buzz around it kind of confusing.  It seems like everyone has their own definition of Cloud, and every technology company has a Cloud angle.  Isn’t VMware all about virtualization?

So, I set out to understand VMware’s definition of Cloud, and the first thing my new boss said was:   “It’s an approach, not a destination.”

He expanded on this, offering the following perspective:  Cloud Computing is an approach to computing that leverages the efficient pooling of on-demand, self-managed virtual infrastructure, consumed as a service.

And then, it all came together for me.   

We live in a world of getting “exactly what I want, exactly how I want it, exactly when I want it.”  People buy shoes, apps, car insurance whenever they want.  They buy music and movies however they want (a single song, a 2 day “rental,” a custom channel).  In all these cases, it doesn’t matter where the product is coming from – only that we get what we want, when we need it.

This is the promise of cloud computing, bringing the “what I want, how I want, and went I want it” to the business.

And here is where I began to understand VMware’s vision.  There is no quick answer for “going to The Cloud.”  The approach is for IT departments to take an evolutionary path from virtualizing their data centers to developing a Private Cloud architecture that can be bridged with external Public Cloud resources to get the full flexibility of a Hybrid Cloud.  For IT departments to go down this evolutionary path, they are going to have to change the way they work. 

This is Cloud Computing.

It will take me a few more weeks to understand some of the concepts, the changes, and the technologies that will make all of this possible.  I do understand that virtualization is central to this approach. Some of the words I’m picking up are agility, self-service, security, policy-driven… but even if I don’t understand the details, I understand the potential.  Today’s datacenter isn’t built to deliver “what, how, when.”  At VMware, we are helping customers transform the way IT operates  – transform the datacenter  – in order to better serve the line of business (and us business consumers) in a way that is streamlined, responsive, and cost-effective.  

I’m looking forward to learning more about this approach and hope you are too.