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.

Speaking at RedHat Summit / JBoss World 2010

I’ve been enlisted by my employer, Dell, to speak about cloud software architecture JBoss World 2010 in Boston the week of June 21st.

My talk will expand on the “RAIN” posts that I’ve written before with some practical examples on our we are using Joyent to create applications using these models.

Here’s the abstract:

The need for hyper-scale and the lack of SLAs on public clouds has forced architects to stripe their applications across multiple servers. Similar to disk RAID striping, application striping creates redundancy using an array of inexpensive nodes (RAIN). This technique enables applications to have dramatic performance bursts while improving fault tolerance and reducing costs.

In this session, Rob will review how to use JBoss Enterprise Middleware to create a RAIN configuration using technologies available through the Dell Cloud Solution for Web Applications and on Joyent public cloud hosting. He will review the essential role of the virtual load balancer using Zeus ZXTM. Rob will also show specific architectures that can be implemented quickly and explain how ZXTM can deliver scale-out ready SQL read-write splitting without recoding.