IT managers won't swallow VMware's grand cloud vision whole

VMware has a grand cloud vision with vCloud Director, but smaller IT shops are still virtualising servers and sceptical about external providers.

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK -- Many IT managers have perused the hybrid cloud model as a way to reduce costs and eliminate management hassles. But many shops -- especially smaller companies in the EU -- still aren't convinced that the cloud vision as pitched by companies like VMware matches their needs.

There isn't one service provider that can help you with everything you need. That's the problem with moving to a hosted cloud.

 

Ronny Somby, member of Nera Networks' IT department,

VMware Inc.'s vCloud, for example, is designed to move virtual machines (VMs) from a company's private cloud infrastructure to public cloud services. The company claims that use of vCloud Director, VMware vCenter, and VMware vShield will let IT managers create and access virtual data centres, along with resource catalogues, through a self-service portal. This hybrid model enables companies to use shared resources as needed, taking advantage of cloud computing's pay-as-you-go model.

To bridge the gap between private and public infrastructure as promised, vCloud still needs third-party tools to provide management and orchestration functionality.

At VMworld Europe 2010 here this week, the server virtualisation leader glossed over some of these hurdles in a kickoff keynote session. VMware CEO Paul Maritz, CTO Steve Herrod and others characterised cloud services much like the pizza take-away restaurant of the virtual world. Users can "eat" the resources they need only when they need them, instead of paying upfront for infrastructure that they may not always use.

Users still sceptical of VMware cloud vision
In theory, taking advantage of pay-as-you-go resources should tantalize IT shops. Torbjorn Aavitsland, an IT professional at oil firm Houston, Texas-based National Oilwell Varco, agreed that vCloud Director offers potential benefits but said that in reality companies just aren't there yet.

The company's Norway office just began its virtualisation journey and even developed its own small-scale private cloud, Aavitsland said.

But the company hasn't yet considered working with external service providers. It's a small business, he noted, and the 'grand' virtualisation ideas that come from the US do not always work when applied to smaller European entities.

"The US has a big vision about what they want to do with the cloud in terms of moving applications and whole VMs between the private and public cloud. You have to take that vision and scale it down for your company. Bits of that vision may suit you, but others may not," he said.

Aavitsland said, for example, cloud users or those that are considering a cloud model still have concerns over security in the cloud and the location of data.

"We may consider working with a service provider further down our virtual road, but for now we don't need to," he added.

Ronny Somby, a member of Nera Networks' IT department, disagreed. That company is moving its headquarters across the country, and the IT department is considering using an external service provider and its cloud to help with the move, Somby said.

"We are in the process of considering private clouds and what they can do for us," he said. "We understand that there will be some downtime, but we are considering working with a service provider to minimise that," he said.

"First things first -- we will be moving our ERP [enterprise resource planning] system and DPM [data protection management] system. There isn't one service provider that can help you with everything you need. That's the problem with moving to a hosted cloud."

Somby said the company's infrastructure is about 80% virtualised and that the company currently uses vSphere.

Check out all of our VMworld Europe 2010 conference coverage here.

Kayleigh Bateman is the Site Editor of SearchVirtualDataCentre.co.UK.

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