Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Links - 08/15/2007

VMware, Xen and the hardware business (RoughType: Nicholas Carr): Nicholas reports on the big buzz in utility computing and virtualization circles today, the purchase of XenSource by Citrix quickly following the "irrational exuberance" around the VMWare IPO, and the effect each will have on the bare metal market. He argues that true utility computing will drive consolidation not within the enterprise, but across enterprises and even across industries. My comment in response was:

I agree whole heartedly that virtualization is going to permanently change the application-to-server ratio in most companies forever. The days that you buy an email application and a dedicated piece of hardware are fading fast. Furthermore, utility computing (especially SaaS) will probably replace much of the need to even deploy virtual machines within an enterprise.

(I have noted that virtualization != utility computing, at least as far as service level automation is concerned.)

However, I would offer that there are certain organizations with applications that may never be willing to have infrastructure exposed to other enterprises, even if they will benefit from the use of utility computing practices. For example, even if the security hurdles can be overcome, is there any way that *politically* the defense and intelligence communities would ever be allowed to host their data / applications in a third party "utility"? Will banks be willing to put customer account applications into EC2/S3--on infrastructure shared with everyone from other banks to the hacker community? I don't think so.

Utility computing will not be a "one size fits all" world, as you well understand. There will be a combination of SaaS vendors, HaaS vendors, boutique capacity and/or service providers and--yes--private data centers (with many utility computing capabilities) that will complete the vision. All, however, will allow customers to optimize the cost of computing within each of those domains.

None of that derails your thesis, however; the market for individual servers will most certainly be "consolidated", thanks largely to the successes of VMWare and XenSource/Citrix.

Open Source System Management Suites: A Viable Alternative? ( Audrey Rasmussen): If you are wondering if there are any open source technologies that could be incorporated into a SLAuto solution, this class of open source management tools may be a good place to start. No, there are no policy engines integrated into these tools, so the analyze capabilities are severely hindered, but the measure and respond functions are fairly well represented. A complete solution, however, looks only to be available commercially right now.

Scaling on Amazon EC2 with RightScale (SynthaSite): Similarly, there are some interesting management tools for EC2 appearing on the market. How long until someone offers SLAuto for Amazon's web services, I wonder.

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