At ServiceMesh, we talk with a broad range of Global 2000 organizations that are developing and implementing enterprise cloud strategies. We’ve decided to compile a list of frequently asked questions and post brief answers in a new blog series. Feel free to send us your own questions and we’ll answer them! (Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org).
Why Cloud over Virtualization?
Why do you need cloud computing if you’re already virtualizing your infrastructure and getting good results? It’s a great question that we get all the time. Virtualization is widely accepted as a primary enabler for following cloud solutions, but there are some key distinctions between the two. Let’s start with a quick review of the differences:
- An abstraction layer that allows you to more effectively utilize a given hardware stack. There are other benefits which include portability of images, rapid deployment, better disaster recovery, etc.
Virtualization Is Not:
- A stateless resource pool that can be used, shared, rebuilt, or scaled easily through automation across non-uniform platforms
- A policy or governance engine
- A platform for managing extreme scale in enterprise environments
There’s much more to the story of virtualization, which I understand all too well having done my first production VMware farm back in 2003 on version 2.x. I’m going to keep this blog short, but let me just add that a common limitation of virtualization and a reason to go to cloud is “VM sprawl”, or a point of diminishing returns on hardware utilization. One aspect of that limitation comes from a lack of automated policies and governance.
Cloud Is (or should be):
Cloud consists of shared IT capacity that is a highly automated and available on-demand. Clouds can be utilized for a wide variety of different needs both within or across organizations, and as a result need a higher degree of policy-driven governance, automation and security. Clouds can also utilize more than one type of hypervisor, and I can completely abstract away from the underlying hardware, unlike today’s virtualization solutions.
Some Cloud Differentiators You Should Expect:
- Provides for the portability of entire workloads or environments from one location or cloud to another.
- It is “demand driven” in an automated and controlled manner, meaning it can scale up or scale down based on policies, and it will maintain policy and security structure as resources are added or moved.
- Extreme scale management, with elastic capacity to meet previously unreachable peak demands.
Along with some very common Cloud options available today:
- Self-service, real-time provisioning of workloads to the cloud.
- Metered usage with “pay-as-you-go” economic models.
So why move to cloud? If you’re looking to enable “just-in-time” IT resources, economic models that favor OPEX over CAPEX, higher levels of automation and standardization, and more vendor options that reduce or eliminate vendor lock-in, then moving to cloud should make a lot of sense to you.
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