Friday, June 29, 2012

Technology Drivers for Enterprise Cloud Computing Evolution

One of the main factors driving this evolution is the concern by all the stakeholders in the cloud ecosystem of vendor lock-in, which includes the barriers of proprietary interfaces, formats, and protocols employed by the cloud vendors. As an increasing number of organizations and enterprises formulate cloud adoption strategies and execution plans, requirements of open, interoperable standards for cloud management interfaces and protocols, data formats and so on will emerge. This will put pressure on cloud providers to build their offering on open interoperable standards to be considered as a candidate by enterprises. There have been a number initiatives emerging in this space. For example, OGF OCCI for compute clouds, SNIA CDMI for
storage and data management, DMTF Virtualization Management (VMAN), and DMTF Cloud Incubator, to name a few of these standardization initiatives. Widespread participation in these initiatives is still lacking especially amongst the big cloud vendors like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, who currently do not actively participate in these efforts. True interoperability across the board in the near future seems unlikely. However, if achieved, it could lead to facilitation of advanced scenarios and thus drive the mainstream adoption of the enterprise cloud computing paradigm. Another reason standards-based cloud offers are critical for the evolution and spread of this paradigm is the fact that standards drive choice and choice drives the market. From another perspective, in the presence of standards-based cloud offers, third party vendors will be able to develop and offer value added management capabilities in the form of independent cloud management tools. Moreover, vendors with existing IT management tools in the market would be able to extend these tools to manage cloud solutions, hence facilitating organizations to preserve their existing investments in IT management solutions and use them for managing their hybrid cloud deployments.

Part of preserving investments is maintaining the assurance that cloud resources and services powering the business operations perform according to the business requirements. Underperforming resources or service disruptions lead to business and financial loss, reduced business credibility, reputation, and marginalized user productivity. In the face of lack of control over the environment in which the resources and services are operating, enterprise would like sufficient assurances and guarantees to eliminate performance issues, and lack of compliance to security or governance standards (e.g. PCI, HPIAA, SOX, etc.) which can potentially lead to service disruptions, business loss, or damaged reputation. Service level agreements (SLA) can prove to be a useful instrument in facilitating enterprises’ trust in cloud-based services. Currently, the cloud solutions come with primitive or non existing SLAs. This is surely bound to change; as the cloud market gets crowded with increasing number of cloud offers, providers have to gain some competitive differentiation to capture larger share of the market. This is particularly true for market segments represented by enterprises and large organizations. Enterprise will be particularly interested to choose the offering with sophisticated SLAs providing assurances for the issues mentioned above.

Another important factor in this regard is lack of insights into the performance and health of the resources and service deployed on the cloud, such that this is another area of technology evolution that will be pushed. Currently, cloud providers don’t offer sophisticated monitoring and reporting capabilities which can allow customers to comprehend and analyze the operations of these resources and services. However, recently, solutions have started to emerge to address this issue [32_34]. Nonetheless, this is one of the areas where cloud providers need to improve their offerings. It is believed that the situation will then improve because the enterprise cloud adoption phenomenon will make it imperative for the cloud providers to deliver sophisticated monitoring and reporting capabilities for the customers. This requirement would become ever more critical with the introduction of sophisticated SLAs, because customers would like to get insights into the service and resource behaviors for detecting SLA compliance violations. Moreover, cloud providers would need to expose this information through a standardized programmatic interface so customers can feed this information into their planning tools.
Another important advancement that would emerge is to enable third-party independent vendors to measure the performance and health of resources and services deployed on cloud. This would prove to be a critical capability empowering third-party organizations to act as independent auditors especially with respect to SLA compliance auditing and for mediating the SLA penalty related issues.

Looking into the cloud services stack (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS), the applications space or SaaS has the most growth potential. As forecasted by the analyst IDC, applications will account for 38% of $44.2 billion cloud services market by 2103. Enterprises have already started to adopt some SaaS based solutions; however, these are primarily the edge applications like supplier management, talent management, performance management and so on as compared to the core business processes. These SaaS based applications need to be integrated to the backed applications located on-premise. These integration capabilities would drive the mainstream SaaS adoption by enterprises. Moreover, organizations would opt for SaaS applications from multiple service providers to cater for various operational segments of an enterprise. This adds an extra dimension of complexity because the integration mechanisms need to weave SaaS application from various providers and eventually integrate them to the onpremise core business applications seamlessly. Another emerging trend in the cloud application space is the divergence from the traditional RDBMS based data store backend. Cloud computing has given rise to alternative data storage technologies (Amazon Dynamo, Facebook Cassandra, Google BigTable, etc.) based on key-type storage models as compared to the relational model, which has been the mainstream choice for data storage for enterprise applications. Recently launched NoSQL movement is gaining momentum, and enterprise application developers will start adopting these alternative data storage technologies as a data layer for these enterprise applications.

The platform services segment of the cloud market is still in its early phases. Currently, PaaS is predominantly used for developing and deploying situational applications to exploit the rapid development cycles especially to cope with the scenarios that are constrained by limited timeframe to bring the solutions to the market. However, most of the development platforms and tools addressing this market segment are delivered by small startups and are proprietary technologies. Since the technologies are still evolving, providers are focusing on innovation aspects and gaining competitive edge over other providers. As these technologies evolve into maturity, the PaaS market will consolidate into a smaller number of service providers. Moreover, big traditional software vendors will also join this market which will potentially trigger this consolidation through acquisitions and mergers. These views are along the lines of the research published by Gartner. Key findings published in this report were that through 2011, development platforms and tools targeting cloud deployment will remain highly proprietary and until then, the focus of these service providers would be on innovation over market viability. Gartner predicts that from 2011 to 2015 market competition and maturing developer practises will drive consolidation around a small group of industry-dominant cloud technology providers.

The IaaS segment is typically attractive for small companies or startups that don’t have enough capital and human resources to afford internal infrastructures. However, enterprises and large organizations are experimenting with external cloud infrastructure providers as well. According to a Forrester report published last year, enterprises were experimenting with IaaS in various contexts for examples R&D-type projects for testing new services and applications
and low-priority business applications. The report also quotes a multinational telecommunication company running an internal cloud for wikis and intranet sites and was beginning to test mission critical applications. The report also quotes the same enterprise to have achieved 30% cost reduction by adopting the cloud computing model. However, we will see this trend adopted by an increasing number of enterprises opting for IaaS services. A recent Forrester report [21] published in May 2009 supports this claim as according to the survey, 25% enterprises are either experimenting or thinking about adopting external cloud providers various types of enterprise applications and workloads. As more and more vendors enter the IaaS cloud segment, cloud providers will strive to gain competitive advantage by adopting various optimization strategies or value added services to the customers. Open standards based cloud interfaces will gain attraction for increasing the likelihood of being chosen by enterprises. Cloud providers will provide transparency into their operations and environments through sophisticated monitoring and reporting capabilities for the consumer to track and control their costs based on the consumption and usage information.

A recent report published by Gartner presents an interesting perspective on cloud evolution. The report argues that as cloud services proliferate, services would become complex to be handled directly by the consumers. To cope with these scenarios, meta-services or cloud brokerage services will emerge. These brokerages will use several types of brokers and platforms to enhance service delivery and, ultimately service value. According to Gartner, before these scenarios can be enabled, there is a need for brokerage business to use these brokers and platforms. According to Gartner, the following types of cloud service brokerages (CSB) are foreseen:

» Cloud Service Intermediation. An intermediation broker providers a service that directly enhances a given service delivered one or more service consumers, essentially on top of a given service to enhance a specific capability.

» Aggregation. An aggregation brokerage service combines multiple services into one or more new services.

» Cloud Service Arbitrage. These services will provide flexibility and opportunistic choices for the service aggregator.

Source of Information : Wiley - Cloud Computing Principles and Paradigms
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2 comments: on "Technology Drivers for Enterprise Cloud Computing Evolution"

cloud ways said...
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Randy orton said...

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