Clouds are popular. It’s not just because of cloud computing, you know. I was amazed to see people in St. Cloud, Minnesota talk about how much they enjoyed a new kind of cloud beds. In the computing world, businesses and organizations are fully embracing virtualization. Customer deployments show that you can easily install ten (10) or more virtual machines (VMs) on a physical host. For example, Drilling Info, Inc, a fast growing company in Texas, is currently running about 70 VMs on 3 Cisco UCS blades. Such dramatic footprint reduction plus business agility and additional energy, administration and networking savings are powerful reasons to drive IT data center consolidation. The City and County of San Francisco, for instance, has a distributed infrastructure consisting of 40 data centers and server rooms. They are currently in a process to consolidate into a fully virtualized data center.
Since virtualization is widely considered to be a precursor to private cloud computing, does the success so far mean that the road to cloud computing is free and clear?
Many CIOs say that they always keep 3 things on top of their list: business growth, efficiency improvement and risk management. Moving workloads to cloud computing clearly helps serve the first two goals. Managing risks involves many factors. One of them is to ensure a secure environment before sensitive data is loaded into shared and virtualized infrastructure. For that reason, traditional security needs to be extended into virtualized data centers. A CIO survey this year finds that cloud computing is gaining interest, but CIOs are generally worried about security. When John Chambers, Chairman & CEO of Cisco, was asked by Gartner analysts Mark Raskino and Ken Dulaney in front of 7,000 CIOs and IT directors at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Orlando 2010 about the two greatest challenges for cloud, he answered “security and agility.”
Cisco has recently announced AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client 3.0, ASA 5585-X, and Cisco Virtual Security Gateway. You can use these solutions to help secure your data centers. They provide a safety net as you continue your journey to virtualization and cloud computing.
About those cloud beds … you might have read the recent story about Slumberland, a home furnishings retailer with a presence in 11 states. They are on their way to deploy a private cloud to increase operational efficiency and most importantly improve the customer experience. It’s heartwarming to know that clouds could indeed help you get a good night sleep.