Seven Cloud Success Criteria to consider before you pick a platform

From my desk at Dell, I have a unique perspective.   In addition to a constant stream of deep customer interactions about our many cloud solutions (even going back pre-OpenStack to Joyent & Eucalyptus), I have been an active advocate for OpenStack, involved in many discussions with and about CloudStack and regularly talk shop with Dell’s VIS Creator (our enterprise focused virtualization products) teams.  And, if you go back ten years to 2002, patented the concept of hybrid clouds with Dave McCrory.

Rather than offering opinions in the Cloud v. Cloud fray, I’m suggesting that cloud success means taking a system view.

Platform choice is only part of the decision: operational readiness, application types and organization culture are critical foundations before platform.

Over the last two years at Dell, I found seven points outweigh customers’ choice of platform.

  1. Running clouds requires building operational expertise both at the application and infrastructure layers.  CloudOps is real.
  2. Application architectures matter for cloud deployment because they can redefine the SLA requirements and API expectations
  3. Development community and collaboration is a significant value because sharing around open operations offers significant returns.
  4. We need to build an accelerating pace of innovation into our core operating principles
  5. There are still significant technology gaps to fill (networking & storage) and we will discover new gaps as we go
  6. We can no longer discuss public and private clouds as distinct concepts.   True hybrid clouds are not here yet, but everyone can already see their massive shadow.
  7. There is always more than one right technological answer.  Avoid analysis paralysis by making incrementally correct decisions (committing, moving forward, learning and then re-evaluating).

VM != Cloud! Comparision draws ire, misses point

Having the requirement benefit of working with both Dave McCrory and Joyent on a daily basis at Dell, I cannot resist weighing in on the blog pong between them.

Dave’s post comparing VM pricing prompted Joyent to blog that VMs are not the only measure of cloud.

While I completely agree that clouds are not all about VMs, I think that Joyent is too limited in their definition of cloud in their reply.  We’re seeing an emergence of services as the differentiator between clouds.

Looking at Amazon, Azure, and Google, the clear way to reduce cloud spend is to migrate applications to consume their services (SQL, Storage, Bus, etc).

If cloud users are primarily concerned about price per hour (which I’m not convinced is the case) then they have real motivation to migrate from purely VM (or SmartMachine(tm) ) based applications to ones that use services.

McCrory on “Cloud Confusion”

or, why is everyone DaaZed and Confused?

Dave McCrory, my co-worker at Dell, posted an interesting analysis of how different roles people have in IT jobs dramatically influences their perception of cloud services.

I think that part of the confusion is how difficult it is for each category of cloud user to see their challenges/issues for the other classes of user.

We see this in spades during internal PaaS discussions.  People with development backgrounds has a fundamentally different concept of a PaaS benefits.  In many cases, those same benefits (delegation to a provider for core services like database) are considered disadvantages for the other class of user (you want someone else to manage what!).

Ultimately, the applications are at the core of any XaaS conversation and define what “type” of cloud need to be consumed.

Juxtaposition: Dave McCrory joins Dell Cloud Team & Quest acquires Surgient

Rarely in my life have I seen true juxtaposition as in the last few weeks.  Mearly hours after my long time friend and cloud conspirator, Dave McCrory, joined our team at Dell; the company that we founded, Surgient, was aquired by Quest software.  Neither of us had been there for years and had been looking for ways to work together again.  Apparently the cosmos required that we could not join forces while our first effort together was still standing.

Cloud Walker

Our cloud team at Dell is full of people who like to both dream and do.  Now that we added Dave, I am expecting BIGGER things.  We’re actively planning coordinated blogging about some of the issues and inspirations that are driving our plans.   Those topics include Dev-Ops, PaaSvsIaaS, and the real “private” cloud.

Dave, welcome back to the party!

Here’s what Dave posted:

A lot has occurred since my last blog post. I am continuing the development of my technology and working in the Cloud, however I have chosen to do this with a great team at Dell. I was approached a while back about this opportunity and as I dug deeper and saw the potential I began to buy in. Finally after meeting the great team of experts involved behind the scenes I decided to join them.
I have worked with some of the team members before including Rob Hirschfeld. Rob and I founded both ProTier (note that PODS ran on VMware’s ESX) and co-founded Surgient together (interestingly Surgient announced its acquisition by Quest Software last week). Rob and I have created a great deal of IP (Intellectual Property) in the past together, including the First Patent around Cloud Computing (This was filed as a Provisional Patent in 2001 and a Full Patent in 2002). Our time at Dell should produce some new and great work in the Applied Architectures and Intellectual Property sides.