So, this should be a good Friday post–its short and there are cash prizes involved.
Well, actually, its the first part of a post. I have a question for you readers. I have my own thoughts on the answer, but I wanted to see what other folks thought first, before I taint the discussion. I have been spending a fair number of cycles on a working group pulling together our company perspectives on cloud computing and where we fit in. While I was reading something on private clouds, something seemed oddly familiar, which leads me to the question:
Were mainframes the first private clouds?
Bear with me–there are a lot of similarities: based on virtualization, pooled resources, reallocation of resources via policy. Also, as someone pointed out to me the other day, some of the potential downsides like vendor lock-in, lack of portability, etc.
So what do you think? I have a Amazon or iTunes gift card for the best (or most entertaining) argument for and against. While you are making your argument, tell me what you think we can we learn from mainframe days that can help us today as we look a cloud models? For example, the mainframe folks certainly had the billing and accounting thing nailed.
So, what do you think?
PS For my next post, I am going to explore if the DEC VT100 was the first instance of VDI?
This morning SAP CTO Visha Sikka, VMWare CEO Paul Maritz, and Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior announced to the SAPPHIRENOW crowd in Orlando and Frankfurt an unprecedented partnership between the Virtual Computing Coalition (VCE) and SAP designed to accelerate the customers virtualization and/or the potential adoption of cloud computing model This major announcement reinforced the message delivered yesterday by the SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe at SAPPHIRENOW –“ SAP is definitely committed to a software and hardware stack approach” , and “decided to work with leaders such as Cisco, EMC and VMware …companies that are at the best at what they do”
This announcement was also immediately detailed by a panel of senior executives who discussed based on a real customer case studie, how VCE Vblock infrastructure Packages helps the SAP virtualization delivering huge benefits in terms of performances, speed of deployment and TCO. Member of the panel were –Tom Peck CIO at Levi Strauss & Co. –Pat Gelsinger President and COO EMC information infrastructure Products –Andre Hughes Global Managing Director of Accenture Cisco Business Group –Kevin Ichhpurani, SVP Global Software and Technologies SAP
At SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, I met Manjula Talreja, Cisco VP Virtual Computing Environment coalition to better understand what this partnership between VCE and SAP means for our customers
The addition of SAP in the partner ecosystem is an additional proof of the huge interest of the customers for the unified computing approach and more specifically the Vblock concept – I met also at SAPPHIRENOW the team in charge of the SAP NetWeaver Adaptive Computing Controller , one of the major force inside SAP , in charge of helping the customer to move to virtualization- There is no doubt in my mind that this partnership represents a great opportunity for SAP customers to facilitate the virtualization journey envisioned by SAP technological leaders, and already embraced by early adopters Cisco SAP customers, such as Pacific Coast Building Products
On the heels of numerous VCE related announcements, discussions/discussions and demos/demos/demos/demos/demos at EMC World 2010, and the beginning of many announcements/announcements coming from SAP Sapphire this week, I thought it might be useful to put a few concepts in perspective. Specifically – Cisco UCS, VCE Coalition, Vblocks, Acadia and the Journey to the Cloud. When new products and concepts are introduced to the market, there is often a period of time before they are fully understood.
Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS)
I’m not going to elaborate on the Cisco UCS in this section. Our partners and customers do a very good job of driving conversations about the solution on a daily basis in both public forums and Cisco communities. In the context of VCE and Vblock, I do want to clarify one point about UCS. While UCS is part of the Vblock Bill-of-Materials (BOM), it is not in any way restricted to only be sold in a VCE or Vblock configuration. While UCS does have design characteristics and integration points (here, here, here) that optimize it for virtualized Data Center environments, Cisco realizes that customers have a variety of computing needs (physical and virtual) and vendor preferences (applications, hypervisor, storage, management, etc.) and is fully committed to delivering the value of UCS to those environments.
Even as technologists, we rarely think twice about the behind-the-scenes technology that enables some of our favorite consumer cloud technologies – Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, iTunes, etc. While we all know that there is world-class scaling and PhD created algorithms, our focus is shifted to the value they provides in our day-to-day lives; how they solve problems in how we work, live, play and interact. And while there are discussions and arguments over aspects of the underlying technologies (HTML5 vs. Flash, POP3 vs. SMTP vs. IMAP, iPad clients vs. Blackberry clients, etc.), the infrastructure is rarely ever discussed. It just works. It just scales. Problem solving first, technology second.
As we began delivering VBlock to our customers and partners, several questions came up in almost every technical discussion.
· “Why can’t I pick and choose what goes into my VBlock?”
· “Couldn’t I just build this myself, without the VCE guidance?”
· “Doesn’t this lock me in to a vendor-specific solution?”
The first question I ask customers or partners, when the topic of conversation is Vblock or Private Cloud, is “are you partially virtualized yet?”. If the answer is yes (which is true about 80% of the time), the next question I ask is, “who is responsible for the network now?” I don’t do this because my badge has a Cisco logo and we’re obsessed with all things networking. I do this because the answer to the question immediately tells me if the customers is ready to talk about Vblock.
In a previous post I talked about how Vblocks were designs to address the concerns our customers faced as they began to expand their virtualized infrastructure. I wanted to expand on how we took those challenges and created the foundational model for Vblock.