The idea of an enterprise-level private cloud running on a single, homogeneous stack, and in particular on a single hypervisor, is “a misplaced view of the way cloud is,” says HP Senior VP of Storage and cloud visionary David Scott.
“Cloud has to reflect the breadth of the application environments that enterprises have today,” he said in an interview from the HP Discover 2011 conference webcast on SiliconAngle.tv this week. The private cloud “is going to have to reflect the breadth of the application environments that enterprises have today. And that means you are going to have to look at cloud solutions that are open and can support multiple hypervisors.”
Cloud service providers will probably have to offer VMware, Citrix end-server hypervisor, and Microsoft HyperV to support the diversity of application sets in many enterprises. “It’s going to be an open, heterogeneous environment, and HP’s cloud systems strategy is designed to address that very need. Rather than solely supporting one type of virtualization environment, it’s open and supports them all.”
However, he said, that does not mean to imply that the enterprise will have several totally separate clouds, essentially a return of the stovepipe organization of the traditional IT shop in a new form. “The underlying services around security, manageability, orchestration, provisioning, etc., are absolutely common.”
But getting there is not easy, now will it necessarily happen quickly. While a few early adaptors are virtualizing large sections of their environment in preparation for establishing internal clouds, most are moving forward more cautiously. “Fundamentally for most enterprises its going to be baby steps.” And that creates its own set of challenges as companies try to maintain essentially dual architectures, with a traditional hardware architecture only slowly yielding applications to a hybrid cloud for the foreseeable future.
This also implies a bifurcated services strategy. Companies need help developing new cloud models and understanding what applications to virtualize and move into the cloud first and how to do that. Simultaneously they need help optimizing their traditional architectures. “And that’s a huge opportunity for HP and all of our enterprise and technical services.”
However, longer term as enterprises do move to hybrid clouds, the service market is going to evolve radically. “Like any utility, once you evolve to a full cloud model, services don’t actually play a part of it.” He compares the eventual situation to the electrical or telephone utility. Users almost never need an electrician or telephone technician. “It just works. And that the world which, if you go our a couple of decades or more, the level of services to the platform delivery of something-as-a-service will evolve into.”
It will have to become that simple, at least on the user end. The thrust of the evolution is for IT to become a utility with close to 100% available service at the lowest cost, which leaves little room for traditional IT services, similar to the telephone and electrical utilities today.