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Shifting from Infrastructure to Innovation

In my conversations with CIOs and other IT executives, I often hear how their teams are focused on maintaining a solid, reliable infrastructure. Their priorities are continuity of service, meeting SLAs, and minimizing disruptions and downtime. That’s an important, admirable goal, but as every IT exec now knows it’s not the whole picture.

If your teams spend too much energy on maintenance to ensure things don’t go wrong, they’re probably going to miss the opportunity for moving forward – and the threat of being left behind.  Consumerization of IT and the cloud have changed everything. As one customer exec pointed out to me recently, “Public cloud options can be the pink slip for IT infrastructure and operations teams.” Let’s face it, the monopoly is over.  Public cloud services, both consumer and business, have set a new standard for IT service delivery – ease of access, speed, reliability, etc. – as well as expectations on price, and IT teams are expected to match or better that standard if they want to stay in the game.

With so much available today on demand in the cloud there’s greater pressure than ever on IT to somehow reduce expense and shift Keeping the Lights On to new, innovative projects that drive business productivity and profit growth. You need to empower your teams to think and act differently, enabling them to be a world class IT organization.

Your teams can no longer focus on the infrastructure; they have to focus on taking advantage of the infrastructure to deliver new business value through innovation. In a world of options – private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, virtualized and physical infrastructures – the focus needs to be on making the right choice that’s right for your business.

The question is no longer “How do I make my infrastructure the best it can be?” but: “What’s the best infrastructure for what we want to do?”  IT has to decide the most logical place to provision and operate infrastructure and applications, based on criteria such as cost, risk, compliance, security, etc. That’s where the innovation comes in – what works best where? What capabilities can I start to deliver as services? What cloud services can I take advantage of to help drive what the business is trying to achieve?

That’s the shift we’re seeing in IT. Instead of providing a super reliable infrastructure to support your applications, you’ll be sourcing and providing services. As I mentioned in my previous post, IT will become a broker for services that the business needs, with a fact-based approach to identifying the best source of those services, internally or externally. Being a service broker will help your teams shift toward innovation, while matching or bettering the standard set by public cloud services.

Some of those services – the ones supporting your mission-critical activities – will stay on-premise for reasons of security and compliance. Some of them – the utility part – you’ll offload to a cloud infrastructure provider through IaaS. The rest of them – the part in the middle – you’ll offload to a SaaS or PaaS vendor (someday these may come back in house or they may stay in the cloud or even move back and forth depending on cost and changing business demand).

Being an innovative IT organization is about trying new things. About being daring. About making decisions faster, killing projects sooner, investing more in projects that warrant it. And about how the cloud – private, public, hybrid – can help you do that.

This is going to take a mind-shift on the part of your teams and a critical look at your processes. You’re going to have to be more customer-centric and deliver cost transparency to your stakeholders. You’re going to have to standardize the services you offer (think 80/20 rule) and enable self-service access to them. And you’re going to have to put the right governance processes in place – who gets access to what and where does your data live.

In my next post I’ll walk through how you can tackle these challenges.

Care to comment on this blog post? Share your thoughts your thoughts with us in comment section.  

vCloud Connector 2.0 now available

I’m pleased to announce that vCloud Connector 2.0 is now available for download! vCloud Connector (vCC) allows you to view, copy and manage VMs across vSphere, vCloud Director and any of the 180+ vCloud Powered and vCloud Datacenter IaaS cloud providers listed at vcloud.vmware.com. For more details on what’s in 2.0, see my earlier blog post.

There are two versions: vCloud Connector Core is a free download for anyone with vSphere, and vCloud Connector Advanced is free for anyone with the vCloud Suite. Here’s a summary of the differences:

vCloud Connector 2.0 Features Core Advanced
View, copy, move VMs and templates Yes Yes
User interface improvements Yes Yes
Transfer speed and reliability improvements Yes Yes
Cross-cloud search for VM or template by name Yes Yes
Automatic catalog synchronization across clouds No Yes
Migrate VM while maintaining IP and MAC addresses No Yes

vCloud Connector supports vSphere and vCloud Director 4.x and 5.x. It’s available from the “Drivers And Tools” tab of vSphere 5.1 and vCloud Director 5.1, or by following this link: vmware.com/go/downloadvcc

[This blog post was edited on Jan 9 2013 to correct an error — VXLAN is not required to migrate a VM while maintaining IP and MAC addresses.]

Try your own vCloud in minutes

Today, we’re announcing that we’re introducing a new service that allows you to get your own vCloud IaaS service in minutes, called vCloud Service Evaluation. We heard from many customers that they came to vmware.com to learn more about vCloud services, but that it wasn’t easy to sign up with a credit card, kick the tires, and learn by doing. vCloud Service Evaluation will provide a quick, easy and low-cost way for you to learn about the advantages of a vCloud through hands-on testing and experimentation.

You can sign up for the beta here: http://vmware.com/go/vcloudbeta. We’ll be sending out invites to those who sign up the week of August 27th, and those of you who are going to VMworld in San Francisco can see and try the service at the cloud services pod within the VMware booth.

You’ll need a credit card to use the service. It makes the service self-funding, and we can keep things simple, avoiding complex “service quotas” and other artificial restrictions – and also offer Windows VMs. We learned that customers have widely differing requirements for tests and proofs of concept. So, instead of annoying restrictions, you pay a small amount for what you use – a 1Gb Linux VM with one vCPU is $0.04/hour – and you are free to run the VMs you need until you are done. Once you have entered your card details, you’ll get your credentials within 15 minutes. If we need to verify anything, you’ll get a call.

To keep costs down, we commissioned a VMware vCloud service provider to build and operate the service on our behalf. We’re giving you a vanilla example of how a vCloud Powered service – delivered by a VMware vCloud service provider – would work. It’s worth pointing out that vCloud service providers offer significantly more in terms of cloud functionality. vCloud Service Evaluation has all the basics like a catalog of useful VM templates, virtual networking, persistent storage, external IP addresses, firewalls, load balancers, the vCloud API etc., but you’ll get a lot more in a production vCloud service.

To find that production vCloud service, head to vcloud.vmware.com: the gateway to the world’s largest network of certified compatible public cloud services, including more than 145 vClouds in 28 countries.

To get you started quickly, vCloud Service Evaluation offers a variety of pre-built content templates (at no charge) including WordPress, Joomla!, Sugar CRM, LAMP stack, Windows Server and a mix of web and application stacks and OSes. You can also Bring Your Own VM (BYOVM). That’s right, you can BYOVM and put it into your own private catalog for deployment. You can do that either by uploading it directly into vCloud Director, or you can run the vCloud Connector VMs into your account (they’re in the public catalog) and use that to transfer your VMs from vSphere or any other vCloud.

Here’s what the main console looks like:

Vc-se-console

The service evaluation also allows you to run the VMware vCloud Director® interface.

Vcd-console

We also learned that while we had some great information on vmware.com, but that it was hard to find stuff relevant to vCloud – and it wasn’t clear where to ask questions. So we put all the “how to” guides in one place, added some new ones, and also provided a Community site (message boards) where you can ask questions and get answers from experts at VMware and our partners.

How-to

Community

Finally, email, chat and telephone support is available Monday through Friday for billing enquiries and to report any technical problems. “How do I…?” questions are best asked (and answered) on the Communities site.

We hope you find vCloud Service Evaluation a simple, low-cost way to learn about VMware vCloud, and look forward to getting your feedback on the service.

Delivering Business Innovation with Application Management A presentation at the O’Reilly Velocity Conference

A few weeks ago at the O’Reilly Velocity conference, Komal Mangtani, who heads up engineering for our Application Management business, and I co-presented VMware’s point-of-view on how applications need to be managed in the cloud era and how you can leverage the cloud to drive business agility and operational efficiency for your IT organization. Our presentation can be viewed here.

Velocity attracts many cutting edge, “New Age” companies as well as big, established players. Attendees are mainly system administrators but there’s also a large contingent of developers and operation teams.

Komal and I kicked off our presentation by walking through a number of examples of how business and IT innovation have been accelerating over the past few decades. We made the following case to the audience:  not only is the speed of innovation accelerating, but it’s fundamentally changing the way applications need to be built, deployed and managed.

As we analyzed these examples, it was clear to everyone that software is the key element driving innovation today. Marc Andreessen made this very point last year when he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that every company is a software company. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – Manufacturing, Telecom, Financial Services, Pharmaceuticals – what you’re doing is powered by software.

Just a few short years ago, IT was a business enabler; today, IT is the business. While most business and IT executives recognize this truism, many of them are unsatisfied with their innovation performance. The key reason is that the innovation delivery chain suffers from a split personality disorder:  developers want to innovate with abandon, while operations teams want a very stable environment with tight control. For ages developers have been seeking ways to improve their software development lifecycle, moving from waterfall to agile and scrum methodologies in order to get their latest and greatest code rolled into production as quickly as possible. Operations teams, however, have put in strict rules to slow down that process in order to maintain control and avoid outages. With these two forces pulling in opposite directions, innovation can’t thrive and IT developers and operations teams – and, more importantly, the business – suffer.

One of the latest trends that is closely tied to rapid innovation and execution is the adoption of Platform as a Service (PaaS). Admittedly, PaaS is an over-hyped concept, but in general PaaS does indeed simplify the development process and enable ongoing innovation. However, it’s still a maturing approach and many solutions in the market lack significant enterprise features while threatening to create vendor lock-in.  In fact, one of the core distinctions VMware’s “Cloud Foundry” has delivered is openness with respect to where the application can get deployed, in recognition to the lock-in challenge.

In our talk, Komal and I differentiated between various types of PaaS. Although we use the word PaaS very commonly now, the industry has recognized that there is more than one PaaS. There is aPaaS  (Application PaaS)– where solutions like Google AppEngine, force.com, Intuit serve as examples and there is iPaas (Integration PaaS) –  examples include IBM CastIron and Informatica Cloud Services.

Some PaaS solutions are built exclusively to users for a specific SaaS application like NetSuite BOS while others are independent like LongJump or Relational Networks. And so, we highlighted that when talking / exploring PaaS, make sure you understand the full context and extensibility of each of these offerings.

The reality, however, is that it’s still early days for PaaS adoption and most business applications do not, and will not run on PaaS in the near future. The industry generally agrees that PaaS will be the application platform of the cloud era and a very different developer experience, one where they can focus on core development and not environmental details. Hence, the driver for PaaS, the ability to deliver applications faster to market, needs to be balanced and tackled per project as it is still not a one size fits all.

The $64,000 Question (for those of you who remember that iconic game show) is, what is? The answer lies in understanding the nature of the challenge.

In order to enable innovation today and to make an impact on your business, you need to be able to set up new environments quickly. You need to be able to service millions of users around the clock. You need to be able to develop new capabilities in an agile manner and apply these changes on an ongoing basis. The evolution of IaaS has made getting infrastructure up and running in minutes a reality. At the same time, agile development has had a huge impact on making newly developed software available much more quickly. The challenge today is to get that newly developed software up and running on the instantly available infrastructure in a controlled manner while maintaining agreed service levels.

In my next post, I’ll walk you through how the VMware Application Management Suite addresses this challenge, and how you can deliver innovation for your business by bridging your development and operations teams to achieve agile operations.

Welcome, Google, to the raw VM IaaS market

Google announced limited beta of Google Compute Engine, its IaaS service, at Google I/O yesterday, after weeks of rumor and speculation. The IaaS market has evolved into two segments: “raw VM” IaaS led by Amazon Web Services, and enterprise, where the cloud directly supports the application with higher performance, more flexibility and high availability. This segment is dominated by the VMware vCloud service provider ecosystem.

Google’s service apes AWS in that it explicitly offers no availability guarantees, and existing applications are not invited to the party: the service is designed for start-up developers writing new applications. Ideally, its customers will deploy many instances of a few base VMs, following the patterns of Zynga and Netflix.

So welcome, Google, to the IaaS market – it’s great to see some well-financed competition for AWS in the raw VM segment. I really hope Google is serious about its offering given the limited success of Google App Engine, and because I wonder about Google’s motivation. Why do developers matter when Google makes almost all its revenue from ads? I expect it’s because developers write apps that collect and generate data. Google’s raft of free services from Gmail to Maps to Android exist to feed data and eyeballs (that is, you and me) into its ad algorithms, and 3rd party apps offer another way to do that. Those new Google glasses and tablets are going to generate all kinds of monetizable big data.

The announcement, along with the Glasses and Nexus tablet, highlight the importance of “big data”, the New Black of batch processing. VMware announced its Serengeti initiative a few weeks ago, which makes it far easier to deploy Hadoop onto virtualized infrastructures (i.e., clouds) of all kinds. My colleague Dave McCrory also launched datagravity.org this week, which explores the idea that computing must move closer to the data, not the reverse. vCloud provider NYSE Technologies is the embodiment of this approach with its capital markets cloud, designed to bring those apps closer to their exchanges.

When it comes to application gravity –- the inability to leave behind the apps you already have — there are now more than 125 certified public vClouds in 26 countries. It is the world’s largest cloud ecosystem, and all of them offer the same vCloud API, and compatibility with the applications you already have. It also offers me the opportunity to end on a high note: the most recent vCloud customer success story, over at Another VMware Cloud, is the non-partisan, non-profit National Democratic Institute (NDI). For the growing number of you who have ditched your dictators and need to organize political parties and hold free and fair elections, NDI can help faster, cheaper and with less interference (far more resistant to cyber attacks) because it runs on a VMware vCloud. Check out the video interview at http://www.vmware.com/anothervmwarecloud and their work at www.ndi.org.

 

A Cloud For Europe: Colt Expands vCloud Datacenter Service

Yesterday at VMworld in Copenhagen, Colt announced further expansion of its vCloud Datacenter Services into four new European countries – France, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. But doesn’t the cloud mean you don’t care where your computing is done, so long as it’s secure and cost effective? Why does it matter that there’s now a local vCloud Datacenter Service in all these countries?

All vCloud Datacenter Services offer a globally-consistent infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) service definition that is audited and certified by VMware. The goal is to allow VMware customers to deploy to the cloud in any geography with no changes to the application. IaaS is a highly competitive market and each service provider delivers additional value around that core IaaS offering. Colt’s announcement is good example of their differentiation, and also underlines the importance of intimate local market knowledge for cloud.

At the core of this expansion is that the three most important issues in cloud computing for European organizations are location, location and location. Data privacy and security legislation varies significantly from country to country, which means that knowing where your data is located and who has jurisdiction and access are vital to a cloud for Europe. If you’re an organization operating in Switzerland and have Swiss customer data, you have to comply with that country’s strict information privacy and data retention laws. Putting your data in (say) Ireland doesn’t cut it.

European organizations are also leery of a variety of US laws and its law enforcement approaches, notably the Patriot Act and the FBI’s use of National Security Letters (NSLs) to enforce it. NSLs allow the FBI to order any service provider in its jurisdiction to hand over electronic communications or data without review or demonstration of probable cause, and to retain that data indefinitely. The FBI can also simultaneously gag the recipient, who cannot disclose that the request has been made. The American Civil Liberties Union estimated that more than 40,000 NSLs are issued each year. As a result, there’s a growing market for cloud service providers that are not subject to US jurisdiction.

The net? Working with a cloud service provider like Colt that stays on top of the shifting sands of EU and individual country regulations, and who offers very specific data locality and security in its cloud services is an important differentiator. Colt is able to make the decision simple – with its vCloud Datacenter Service you can co-locate your computing with your data inside country boundaries. Need to comply with Swiss privacy regulations? Deploy your application and keep its data in Switzerland, with a back-up site in the same country.

Read more about Colt’s expansion here.

 

Hybrid cloud customer panel at VMworld Copenhagen

Next week I have the pleasure of moderating a hybrid cloud customer panel at VMworld Copenhagen. The speakers are VMware customers deploying their applications to private and public clouds, and they'll be speaking about their experiences and goals in session CIM 4813 on Tuesday October 18 at 13:30.

Dr Stuart Lee from the University of Oxford will be talking about their innovative database as a service application deployed to their private cloud and to Colt's vCloud Datacenter Service.

Stephen Speirs, CIO of Charles River Labs has an agenda to migrate this leading lab and research services company to enterprise-class public clouds over the next few years, getting out of the business of managing on-premises infrastructure. Learn about their experiences using a hybrid cloud to make that transition.

Francis Hart is Chief Architect at game publisher and developer Sega Europe. Learn how they're making Sega more productive and more secure using hybrid clouds — and the difference between commodity and enterprise public clouds.

This promises to be an interesting panel for those considering or making the move to hybrid cloud. Please join me and take adavtage of the ability to hear from these cloud leaders and the Q&A session afterwards.

VMworld vCloud IaaS news: the enterprise cloud advances

A year ago, I wrote a blog entitled “Cloud, meet enterprise,” the title a nod to the early successes by cloud service innovators and the pent-up desire of many IT organizations to gain the same kind of agility. Their problem: how to get take advantage of public clouds without having to abandon everything they had and without re-architecting or re-writing all of their applications en masse. By working with our service provider partners we could jointly deliver public cloud services that offered an evolutionary path to the public cloud revolution.

Today, VMware and its partners are introducing new products and services that help organizations of all sizes find, evaluate, and manage hybrid cloud services to compliment their own IT investments. By hybrid, we mean using private and public clouds in concert, so that an organization can determine for itself the appropriate mix. 

vcloud.vmware.com helps VMware customers quickly find a qualified service provider that’s compatible with their VMware-virtualized infrastructure. Customers can learn about the different types of cloud services (vCloud Powered, vCloud Datacenter and vCloud Express), locate a provider world-wide, and also sign up for a service trial. 

We’re also introducing the public beta of vCloud Connector 1.5, VMware’s tool for transferring and managing workloads across vSphere clusters, private and public clouds. New in version 1.5 is a point-to-point agent architecture for transfers that improves speed by using multiple parallel network connections. There’s also an automatic checkpoint & restart mechanism, so any transfer that is interrupted by network congestion or failure is now automatically re-started from where it failed.

Customers can also access vCloud Connector 1.5 from any compatible web browser, in addition to accessing it from the vSphere console. As before, vCloud Connector is a free download for existing vSphere customers, and it is also integrated directly with vcloud.vmware.com.

We’re also pleased to announce improvements to vCloud Datacenter, which delivers globally consistent IaaS service world-wide through selected partners. The service is audited and certified by VMware to meet stringent compatibility and security requirements. We’re pleased that Dell has joined the program and will roll out vCloud Datacenter Service globally, with initial beta service out of its Texas datacenter.

All vCloud Datacenter service providers offer a common cloud computing service definition that makes it easy for customers to deploy their applications world-wide on any vCloud Datacenter service without re-work. We’re also announcing Global Connect, an initiative where vCloud Datacenter partners are working together to offer a global virtual cloud service through a single contract. Bluelock, Colt, SingTel and Softbank are the first vCloud Datacenter partners expected to offer Global Connect.

Finally, some numbers to give you a sense of where we are on the journey and how adoption of enterprise cloud services are accelerating: there are now 5,600 members of the VMware Service Provider Program (VSPP) in 62 countries, with 174% bookings growth in VSPP in the year-to-date. Since VMware only makes money when our service providers sell services, that means the VSPP ecosystem has grown its revenue by at least 174% too. By comparison, this is more than three times the growth estimates for the largest non-VMware public clouds, demonstrating the rapid acceleration of enterprise cloud. If you haven’t already done so, find a provider and start your own journey at vcloud.vmware.com.

 

The future of cloud, part 2: Harris trusted enterprise cloud

Today at VMworld, Harris Corporation announced their Trusted Enterprise Cloud as a VMware vCloud® Powered service offering for federal and enterprise customers based on best of breed technologies, including VMware vCloud® Director. Perhaps the most interesting part of this is the strong differentiation that Harris has built into its cloud infrastructure that makes it a particularly good fit for this customer base. 

There are echoes here of NYSE Euronext’s capital markets approach – both are far from “generic” or “commodity” cloud services. They are clouds specifically designed and operated to solve mission-critical customer needs. Harris is way out in front of some recent announcements that are nothing more than “same old cloud, new building”, marketed as “Now for government use.” You’ve heard of “CloudWashing” – maybe the term for this is “GovCloudWashing?”

So what’s the secret sauce? Harris set out to comprehensively answer the question “What makes a cloud trusted?” There are three components to this – the physical and logical integrity of the cloud itself, the methods and procedures to operate it, and the people who run the cloud. There’s a lot of meat to this, and Chuck Hollis’ blog goes into more detail – I want to focus on Harris’ innovation in the cloud infrastructure layer.

All of the Trusted Cloud hardware components are positively verified to be as the manufacturer intended, with tracking from the source. There’s no room for (say) buying the cheapest “white box” server board of unknown origin in a trusted cloud, because that can compromise the integrity of the overall system. If you think this is far-fetched, consider that everything from NAS arrays to iPods have arrived in the hands of customers pre-loaded with malicious code in the past few years. Then there’s the growing market in counterfeit networking, storage and server spares (by May 2010, US authorities had made more than 700 seizures of counterfeit Cisco gear — more than 94,000 network devices in total). 

Secondly, Harris has developed an innovative white-listing approach to verify the integrity of code and configurations that run on the cloud. Traditional anti-virus systems use black-listing – known malicious code is identified through signatures and blocked. The challenge has been the deliberately massive proliferation of malicious code variants, and techniques like code mutation designed to defeat signatures. White listing is the reverse – only known good code and configurations (those with a signature on the “white list”) are allowed. By definition, malicious code, regardless of how it mutates or disguises itself, cannot run because it doesn’t have a valid signature.

The challenge with white-listing is ensuring you have 100% of the required signatures to allow the system to run, given the sheer number of variations of bona fide code and configurations. Through its acquisition of SignaCert in 2010, Harris has assembled a database of code and configuration signatures for over 3 billion software objects from more than 2,000 vendors. Harris has four patents on this technology and has embedded it in their Trusted Enterprise Cloud service.

This is another strike against the “cloud monoculture” viewpoint: to be relevant to a particular market segment, a cloud must deliver more than on-demand VMs; it must also solve key infrastructure challenges that distract organizations from their marketplace or mission. For many, including Federal government agencies, assuring a secure cloud platform is a great example of something that Trusted Enterprise Cloud solves effectively, and is what distinguishes it from “same basic cloud, shiny new label” offerings.

 

Cloud, meet Enterprise

This week we, along with our partners, announced the service availability of vCloud Datacenter Services. We think this is a major milestone because these are the first production enterprise hybrid clouds. There are already several “swipe your credit card get a developer VM” clouds out there, so why do we need three more? Precisely because these are not “swipe your credit card” developer clouds. These are clouds designed and architected to run existing enterprise applications with flexibility, performance and security.

I can imagine some reaching for their Twitter clients to lambast me for failing to acknowledge there are some enterprise apps running in those developer clouds today. Of course there are – but that misses the point. These are either new or re-architected applications, not the 99% of existing applications upon which IT departments spend 70+ percent of their budgets (according to Gartner).

I see a market for both types of cloud – developer and enterprise – but the enterprise cloud market is just getting started. Here are three reasons why this is important:

Reality check one: cloud is not just about raw infrastructure 

We’ve done a couple of enterprise cloud surveys recently, and in one of them IDG Research, partner to CIO magazine, asked 636 enterprise IT executives in the US, Europe and APJ about their cloud plans – and what was holding them back. Top of the list were performance, security, availability and portability. 88% said they’d be happy to move to a cloud that offered them the same or better security as they had inside their own four walls. This aligns with many conversations we’ve had with VMware customers, who haven’t made significant moves to use public clouds because of these barriers. 

Gartner’s Lydia Leong blogged on this topic recently, saying “provisioning raw infrastructure is the easy and cheap part, in the grand scheme of things.” What we’ve heard from VMware customers aligns with that. Enterprise IT folk need is the flexibility and agility of public cloud, coupled with the security, performance, availability and services they get in their own data center today. Oh, and help to deploy and manage all of this stuff would be helpful too. As would local presence and delivery capabilities in countries with strict data privacy laws (think Switzerland, Germany or France).

Reality check two: converting VM files isn’t hybrid cloud

Portability is another issue that is top of mind for enterprises. It gets back to the 99% of applications they run – enterprises want to know how those puppies are getting to the cloud. Several cloud providers offer tools to convert virtual machine file formats so that they can run on their cloud infrastructure. VMware is a keen supporter of open VM file formats (and open cloud APIs, too), which today means the industry-wide OVF file format. Most of these converters translate to a cloud-specific proprietary VM format. This has led some to proclaim that they can now offer a hybrid cloud, or indeed some sort of cloud portability. Translating the file is the easy part – but what about the application inside the VM? Is it going to get the same layer 2 network configuration it expects, for example? There are a host of dependencies and in developer clouds the assumption is that the app gets re-coded to use the new APIs of the host cloud. This is not portability — it's porting, the proverbial check in to the Hotel Calfornia of apps.

Portability really means that the app behaves the same way without modification (new code) – because modification means more expense, not lower costs. It also requires the same kind of security in the cloud that the customer can get in their own datacenter. vCloud Datacenter services provide both for VMware customers: the same VMware vSphere infrastructure foundation they use today, and auditable security for the cloud infrastructure, individual app and user level.

Reality check three: businesses don’t budget using credit cards 

Some have suggested that contracting with a cloud provider for a specific service level isn’t cloud, as if there were some “cloud purity law” that says credit cards are the only way to go. The only kind of purity law I enjoy is the German one concerning beer.  Let’s get real: businesses plan and budget their expenditures in advance. Staying within budget (i.e. predictable spend) is a very important concept for businesses. It may also be advantageous to strike a contract rather than paying instantaneous or “spot” rates, because it also allows the provider to plan ahead and get greater efficiency.

vCloud Datacenter provides a way to guarantee resource allocation to apps, and therefore guarantee predictable performance and predictable billing. The other fact of life at most businesses is that if something is going well and there’s lots of customer demand, budget can rapidly be reallocated to capture that demand. So even in this situation, the customer can scale up or scale down quickly. 

Cloud, meet Enterprise

One of the more enjoyable things about the cloud is its rapid evolution. We’re seeing the emergence of different flavors of cloud, and my guess is this will only continue as enterprises begin to really embrace this new model of computing. As we’ve worked with thousands of enterprises to virtualize and embark on the journey to the cloud, our customers have spoken.  They’ve told us what they need from a cloud service, and we are committed to delivering. Today we and our partners introduce the enterprise  hybrid cloud, designed to deliver IT agility and self-service, while maintaining security, performance and control.