Companies might dive into cloud computing if they can get their
feet wet first.
Even with the inaugural CloudWorld conference taking place Aug. 12-13, it was a relatively slow week in terms of vendor news (press announcements usually pour out of IDG shows, but this event was, well, different). However, the announcements that did emerge from San Francisco’s Moscone Center show that vendors are starting to understand how cloud computing will evolve and what types of offerings actually will sell.
Systems management vendor CA, which has been relatively late getting into the cloud game, entered the marketplace in grand fashion by announcing Amazon EC2 support across numerous products. Customers using CA’s Spectrum Automation Manager, CMBD, Service Desk Manager, Wily Introscope and Insight Database Performance Manager products will be able to manage EC2 infrastructure as an extension of their existing systems, from a common interface. EC2 integration with additional CA products is on the horizon. This type of seamless hybrid cloud management is exactly what will spur cloud use among enterprises, as they can leverage with cloud computing without having to learn new skills or commit too fully.
Open source backup specialist Zmanda expanded its cloud relevance with the release of its ZCloud API. ZCloud targets backup software vendors that want to make their products compatible with a wide range of public and private cloud-storage services. It should minimize the threat of vendor lock-in because end-users can switch clouds without having to learn new protocols. Users also should be able to switch between backup providers that have implemented ZCloud and maintain use of their preferred cloud-storage services. Lock-in is a huge concern, and any product that reduces that risk is a step in the right direction.
The biggest news of the week, however, might be RightScale’s new business intelligence (BI) solution. The public-cloud management company has teamed with Jaspersoft, Talend and Vertica to deliver a push-button BI offering that leverages Amazon’s cloud infrastructure. BI is very important – so important, in fact, that many companies would be hesitant about migrating their BI processes to the cloud. However, because the RightScale offering is self-service and pay-by-the-drink, companies can run ad hoc BI jobs without investing in new infrastructure or overloading existing resources. Plus, the new solution gives RightScale a unique-but-real-world value proposition to counter whatever degree of erosion Amazon’s EC2 management interface caused to RightScale’s initial sales pitch.
Cloud computing has plenty of cheerleaders and visionaries, but the here-and-now reality is that cloud solutions must work in tandem with current infrastructure, mitigate eternal concerns like lock-in and tackle workloads on which enterprises place high value. This week proved that third-party cloud vendors are catching on.