How shalt we configure & manage the cloud, oh lord?

That’s the thing about cloud computing configuration and management stories isn’t it? You wait around all month for one and then three come along at once.

Skytap has been vocal this week on its point-and-click UI cloud management tool, which the company says is suited to what it calls “functional users” i.e. those who want to use the cloud for development, testing and IT sandbox projects.

Presumably “functional users” can’t configure a cloud (or least a hybrid cloud) on their own then by Skytap’s definition right?

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According to the company, “Hybrid clouds usually require three things: an onsite data centre, a public cloud and an IT person dedicated to spending days connecting the two. Despite the benefits of hybrid clouds, setting up and configuring them has proven to be costly, complex, and time consuming for most enterprises and software vendors to implement. In February of 2011 Skytap expanded its usability capabilities by launching a set of new networking features for creating hybrid clouds in under 10 minutes.”

No cloud without ERP?

Skytap’s comments come in the same week that Steve Ballmer and team have been talking about how companies can use Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as an ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution to anticipate and embrace change as the cloud model becomes more deeply embedded. “With agility made possible by a unified business process repository, model-driven architecture and simplicity that comes from a familiar user experience and built-in collaboration tools,” said Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president for Microsoft Business Solutions.

… and then there’s IBM.

IBM says that it is bringing automation and standardisation to simplify cloud software deployment, taking human error and latency and manual labour out of the equation.

“For the first time, clients will be able to use a simple web-based interface to easily install applications, configure databases and set up security for the cloud services they consume or deliver to their customers. Delivered with built-in monitoring, life-cycle management and resource elasticity, the software can dramatically accelerate cloud deployment,” says IBM.

Readers will note the use of “for the first time” in the above paragraph and the fact that I referred to several companies being vocal on this subject just now.

Much though I respect IBM, its core values, its brand strength and its very affable employees — the company does have a bad habit of waiting until word 457 in a 759 word press release to actually mention what its product is called.

In this case it is called IBM Workload Deployer (previously known as WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance) —

We are interested IBM, but don’t keep us waiting so long please.

Anyway – there you have it. The cloud is deeper ingrained into our technology stacks and we’re starting to talk about real management, configuration and monitoring issues relating to cloud resources.

Good isn’t it?