Demystifying the Cloud with VMware

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Introduction

Being only three weeks into my career at VMware, I haven’t had much time to do any technical blog posts due to the fact that I have been drinking from the fire hose and trying to ramp up as quickly as possible.  I am writing this post from VMware’s annual tech summit, and I joked with a few people here that I am so new that I haven’t even gotten a paycheck yet.  My wife called to reassure me that I actually did get paid, so no more jokes about a “virtual paycheck” I guess.

Everything has been great so far.  The people I am working with are awesome, the job is going to be fun but challenging, and to be honest I think I am working for the coolest software company in the world.  VMware’s breadth of products is really quite amazing, they are literally covering the stack with many different applications, and driving a change in the industry that many people are excited about, revolutionizing IT.

The first week I started I got the privilege of working the VMware Express Truck.  If you missed the truck, it was really nicely put together by the smart people out in Palo Alto.  We had lots of interested customers stop by to visit.  Doing “truck duty” in both Louisville and Cincinnati (vForum) allowed me to talk to a lot of different customers both big and small.  One of the biggest questions I kept getting (other than will you take my picture on the truck) was about cloud computing.  A lot of customers had a vague idea of what the cloud is, and in most cases had a general distain for the word cloud.  One customer actually asked me if VMware would change the name from cloud to something different.  While VMware and cloud go hand in hand, VMware does not have copyrights to the name “Cloud” :^)

Define Cloud for me Please

Let’s take cloud computing down to the basic definition to start:

Cloud computing is the use of networked infrastructure software and capacity to provide resources to users in an on-demand environment. Sometimes known as utility computing, clouds provide a set of typically virtualized computers which can provide users with the ability to start and stop servers or use compute cycles only when needed, often paying only upon usage.

So what does that mean?  Think of your electric bill you get in the mail every month.  When you plug in new appliances, you get the juice you need to run that appliance right?  You then are charged from your local service provider for the amount of energy you are consuming.  It’s a flexible model that as you turn things on and off, you are charged accordingly.

VMware has the software infrastructure to allow companies to adopt this same model.  You can now setup software to accommodate the business needs to dynamically power on and off the infrastructure as needed.  This model is what the industry refers to as a “Private Cloud”.  An internally hosted flexible infrastructure.  The IT industry is really primarily focused on “Public Cloud” offerings today.  These are external hosting providers that can offer your business infrastructure on demand.  A common use case for taking advantage of a public cloud offering might be an acquisition, and you no longer have the datacenter facilities to accommodate this additional infrastructure.  “Hybrid Cloud” is the integration of a private and public cloud and bridging these two services together.

Different Levels for different use cases

imageInfrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – This is what we have been talking about throughout the post so far.  Adaptable/elastic infrastructure that can scale on-demand as the business deems necessary.

image Software as as Service (SaaS) – These are software applications that your most likely already using today.  Think of Gmail, Expedia, Wikipedia, these are software based applications that reside in the cloud.

image Platform as a Service (PaaS) – This is a newer cloud offering that is going to be a game changer for many software developers in the industry.  A common platform that allows you to write customized applications to.  You no longer have to concern yourself with servers and networking infrastructure, it’s transparent to the end user.  This model allows the software developer to focus on their primary objective, writing code, not dealing with infrastructure.

So some of you might not quite get the PaaS thing, sometimes YouTube can help drive things home:

VMware and the Cloud

Thus far I have yet to mention VMware, that’s because this common terminology is important to understand as it is being driven across the industry.  VMware is working across all levels of our software offerings to embrace this Cloud based model.  Who wouldn’t want more flexibility in their environment?  Why pay for compute cycles that aren’t being used?  How powerful would it be to have the adaptable infrastructure to scale up/out as your business grows?

I’m not going to bore you with product overviews and what each one means, I wanted to end this post with more of a conceptual approach that a product based one.  Change is coming at all different levels across the IT industry, this is something that will happen.  Prepare yourself, understand how these services relate to you and your business needs.  Talk to the industry experts and start to conceptualize how this can help your efforts.  This is something that you can help drive, mold, and shape.  You will hear a lot about “The Journey” if you are following any of the IT current topics that are being discussed out there.  The journey has already started, and it is up to you to figure out how that will impact you and your business.  I propose VMware is already leading the industry on this journey, come talk to us if you need some help embracing this change.

-Scott

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