Cloud computing is making a mark on the IT landscape, but it has yet to reach the level of universal acceptance that virtualization has achieved. To be fair, virtualization has been around for longer than cloud computing, and it also went through an initial phase of introduction and adoption by companies before it reached the depth of penetration it enjoys today.
Virtualization experienced quite a tough time gaining acceptance, and there were a lot of question marks around performance especially for the hosted variants, such as Microsoft’s Virtual Server. It took time to bring to market virtualization solutions which worked to an acceptable standard, such as Microsoft’s Hyper V and VMware’s ESX Server. It was only when these solutions came to market that customers saw a comparable network performance standard that competed with ‘real world’ network installations.
Cloud computing is going through this same process, with a few, typically larger companies dipping their proverbial big toe in the water to see the result.
Microsoft and VMware are both highly active players in the cloud computing market, and as they went through this very same process with virtualization. Looking at how they are approaching the market and the delivery of technology will give us an insight into the development of cloud computing today.
VMware and Microsoft are the two leading companies in the virtualization sector; however they have very different approaches. VMware views virtualization in fundamental terms and that it is as integral to a network as the hardware. VMware’s ESX Server has a well deserved, industry reputation for being robust and delivering high reliability. This contrasts with Microsoft’s approach, which is to view virtualization as a function of the operating system (OS). Microsoft’s Hyper V makes it very simple and easy for customers to implement a virtualization solution as a consequence.
When it comes to the Cloud, VMware views it as IT as a Service and has adopted a hybrid approach for customers utilizing services in both private and public clouds. Public cloud service provides through the VMware approach include COLT, BlueLock and Verizon. It is easy to see why VMware has virtualization placed at the forefront of delivery of cloud computing services. This means that VMware clients essentially create new virtual machines (VMs) within the private or public cloud they are operating within.
The Microsoft approach ignores virtualization entirely. Customers do not need to worry about virtualization being implemented in any shape or form as Microsoft handles the delivery of cloud services. This is highly attractive for customers who do not want to be concerned with the technical intricacies of virtualization, but do want to assess cost effective cloud based services.
Which Cloud Computing model wins out within the industry is going to spell the end of virtualization or its continued need. If Microsoft’s model gains traction over VMware’s, then there is no need for virtualization and it will die off as a necessary solution, certainly for private deployments. The reason for the digression between the two leaders is simple: VMware is primarily a virtualization company, whereas Microsoft has developed a successful Internet presence over the last decade and has a global portfolio of data centers, making it well placed to provide cloud services (which VMware does not have).
The question is will cloud computing see off virtualization in the market? Not in the near future is probably the fair response, not least because cloud computing is not yet a ‘trusted’ solution. Businesses have far too much experience with connectivity issues and downtime to move over to an Internet environment for their companies at this time. In addition, there is still the customer perception that the cloud still has security issues, though this has largely been addressed today. The bottom line is virtualization is in the game with cloud computing for the moment, but in five years time? That’s a whole new ball game.
Lawrence Reaves writes for Washington DC IT consultants and services such as Washington DC cloud computing consultants and Washington DC enterprise storage. For these service, Lawrence recommends PLANIT Technology Group. PLANIT Technology Group can be found online at: http://www.PLANITTech.com.