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It’s a familiar story  - an industry spends its time in the sun, fortunes are made and lost, competitors battle for ‘real estate’, categories and sub categories are established, IPOs happen, stocks go up –and then  it all changes. The product and the means of production become standardized, the sub-categories become purchase patterns, economy of scale rules, consolidation happens, competition is limited, prices go down and are regulated by the government. Boom towns turn to ghost towns, specialty degrees are no longer offered, workers migrate to the big city, superfund sites are established.  

 

Telephony, electricity and other utilities, energy, steel – all these businesses have gone down a variant of this path. And guess what – cloud computing will too. There is too much demand for basic compute and application infrastructure across the industrialized world for it to go any other way. And many industry behemoths, who are fashioning themselves as the future computing utilities are beginning to bet their business models on it.  

 

So, how do we, the IT and tech guys who are inventing this stuff, keep our jobs? After all, when it’s all consolidated in mega-geo-plexes, they won’t need as many of us. 

 

The first answer that comes to mind is – don’t impede progress and be roadkill. As the Derailers (great Austin band) sang, “you can’t stop a train”. You will not win if you design, build or operate bad cloud infrastructures. It is the surest way to accelerate the substitution process and have your work farmed out to another provider. This is particularly true in the ‘operate’ side of the equation, where cloud infrastructures spend most of their time. Unreliable, poorly performing, non-transparent cloud operations will kill things fast. Whenever I read opinions that suggest that clouds, because of their uniformity, standard components and modern code are inherently more reliable than traditional infrastructures, I cringe. The moment it begins to fail through scale, motion or end user demands and expectations, there’s an easy substitute to go buy out there. To avoid an early exit, it’s mandatory to get on the good side of cloud during these still early days. Taking a look at BMC's Cloud Operations solutions is a good start.

 

The second answer is – don’t believe that cloud infrastructure is the destination. Those who work inside the cloud utility (picture the power linemen or a lonely Homer Simpson) will soon be the vast minority. As an example, in a previous life, I was involved in a west Texas electricity wind farm. After it was built, patched into the grid and launched by marketing, the entire farm, all 160+ turbines and 200 Megawatts of it, was run by a single guy in a rather modest control building complete with sleeping quarters. Clouds are enablers of applications, and the larger opportunity will be in those apps, social interactions and the business activity they represent. Engineers and architects who understand how the cloud really works will have the edge when it comes to the apps that are designed to exploit it.

 

Anyone else have any better ideas?

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This post starts with a story. A coworker (and I link to give proper geek credit where it's due) and I were on a late Friday night flight coming home from a tiring week of meetings. After a long, bumpy ride, we finally landed back in Boston, and neither of us wanted anything more than to get in our respective cabs and get home. Of course, as soon as the lights came on, we were forced to endure a painfully loud, obnoxious conversation behind us. As we rolled our eyes, my coworker said: "this is why airplanes need network containers."

 

So, how did she get from our cramped airplane to network containers? It’s quite simple really. Just as a number of tenants have to co-exist in a shared cloud infrastructure, we are all forced to sit next to people who we don’t know when we travel. Now, they may be very nice people, they may speak another language, or they might even be from our competitor. We don’t have a lot of choice as to who we sit next to, just like in a typical IaaS or PaaS cloud, we don’t have a lot of choice as to what workloads are running on the same physical hardware or networks that we’re on. Airplanes and cloud computing are both multi-tenant.

 

In the case of a plane, we have to assume the worst case, that whoever is sitting next to us is from our closest competitor. It’s not a good idea to work on sensitive documents while someone is peering over your shoulder. Privacy screens work, to a point, shielding our seatmates from our sensitive documents. The reality is that we can’t ensure privacy on an airplane because there are no barriers between us and the random people around us.

 

That level of security won’t work in the cloud. For a multi-tenant cloud to be secure, there must be logical barriers between tenants, so that they can share resources securely. The whole concept of a multi-tenant cloud would fail pretty quickly if we had access to the data and workloads that were running close to us. And that’s where network containers come in. Network containers enable you to create and manage many concurrent tenant networks in a single cloud. Your tenants' applications run securely, separately, as if they were in different datacenters, while you manage the cloud.

 

Though a neat and simple concept, the devil is in the details. Actually creating secure multi-tenant networks in a self-service, automated cloud is where many vendors fail. It takes a good amount of cooperation between vendors to get this to work across heterogeneous environments. Those looking to perform technical POCs when evaluating cloud vendors would be well served to zero in on this critical cloud use case. It’s important not just to create multi-tenant networks, but to do so in a way that does not impact the overall delivery of business services. If every request for a new tenant had to go to a network team to configure a new network, you would quickly lose any agility that a cloud would otherwise unlock.

 

Network containers make multi-tenant networks secure. And if we could just find a way to turn that into personal privacy barriers on airplanes, we might finally get some work done when we're actually in the clouds.

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By Eric Blum, Vice President, CTO Office, BMC Software

 

The cloud services market is exploding as enterprises look to cut capital and operating expenses while also responding more quickly to changing market conditions.

 

As more business-critical services move to the public cloud, service providers must offer more differentiated, nuanced, agile,and automated services to compete profitably in this market. These serviceproviders cannot afford to be seen as commodity players competing only on price.

 

Service providers may seek to drive value based on reliability, levels of security, and regulatory compliance. They can beflexible, allowing customers to easily change the amount and types of services they consume. In addition, as providers, they can focus on the special needs of individual vertical markets, provide secure links between their customers and business partners, and offer visibility through audit logs, metrics, andmonitoring.

 

Four Critical Areas for Differentiating Service

By understanding each cloud customer’s needs and offering  the appropriate “stack” of infrastructure and capabilities, cloud service providers can differentiate their offerings to become more profitable and increase customer satisfaction. In our conversations with service providers,we’ve found they are looking for partners who can help in four critical areas:

 

1. Managing the service portfolio

 

2. Managing risk


3. Reducing sales costs


4. Reducing delivery costs

 

Gain insight from this important discussion by reading the rest of this great article.

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To assist you in getting started, the good Doctor recommends this waiting room material;  CLOUD PLANNING AND DESIGN: YOUR ROAD MAP TOSUCCESS by noted Cloud specialists;  Eric Blum, Vice President, CTO Office BMC Software and  Alan Chhabra, Director, Consulting Services, BMC Software.


If you have more than a common cold, you go see a specialist, if you have a case of something more serious than Common Cloud, you need a specialist.

 

There’s no doubt about it: If you haven’t already moved to the cloud, it’s time to consider  doing so. The global cloud computing market is predicted to grow to $121billion by 2015, up from $37.8 billion in 2010.Yet while the pressure is on to join the massive rush to the cloud, doing so without thoughtful planning can create problems down the road.  cloud_roadmap.jpg

 

Cloud initiatives can be complex for almost any organization, whether the initiative is to build a private, public, or hybrid cloud. While your initial goal may be to create a cloud architecture that meets immediate needs, the cloud you build today must also meet the business requirements of tomorrow. Careful planning is an absolute prerequisite for successful cloud operations.

 

So, where do you begin? It’s important to take a straight forward and prescriptive approach to cloud planning and design. Requirements must be mapped to business priorities to ensure that your cloud services meet business objectives and drive profit. The three steps outlined in this article provide a road map for your journey to the cloud. You don’t need to go through this alone, either. BMC Consulting Services can help you through the process.

 

Get the rest with Three Steps to Cloud Planning and Design in this great insight.

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If there is one thing that VMWorld confirmed for me this year, it’s that the cloud has moved from the science project/early adopter phase to an era of much broader adoption. From the largest enterprises to small SMBs, people are not just thinking about cloud computing, they are betting their business on it. And they are largely betting on a hybrid model.

 

With that in mind, the focus this year was much more on how to actually make the cloud work in production. We saw a lot of interest not just in our flagship cloud product, Cloud Lifecycle Management, but in our cloud operations products as well. Topics such as capacity optimization, performance management, and end-user experience management are coming to the forefront as IT wrestles with the new challenges that the cloud has unearthed.

It’s no longer enough to be able to provision an app-server. That was 2010, and the many conversations I had with customers and analysts last week confirmed that provisioning alone is not enough to deploy a production cloud. It’s the management of that app-server in a cloud environment, and the management of the environment itself that is going to separate successful cloud initiatives from cloud failures.

 

Fortunately, BMC has spent a lot of time and effort pursuing exactly that strategy. We have market leading solution in cloud operations and cloud management, and the fact that many of these solutions have already been integrated is a boon for our customers.

So, with that in mind, let’s review the five things I wanted to get out of VMWorld:

 

1)          The technologies that are necessary to move the cloud into production

 

 

This was a hot topic as I expected it to be. Just review my opening remarks – organizations don’t want to stop at using the cloud as a dev environment, they want to run mission critical workloads on their clouds, and they want the management layer that allows them to do that.

 

 

2)          A clearer idea of “cloudwashed” technology versus actual cloudy technology

 

 

I was very impressed with the maturity level of the attendees I talked to with respect to cloudwashed technology. They did a good job of holding our feet to the fire with questions like: “my cloud environment looks like XYZ, how does this technology fit in to that.” Booths which looked cloudwashed largely stood empty, while the booths that were honest about what they were had a solid amount of traffic.

 

 

3)          The level of customer fatigue for all things cloudy

 

 

I am happy to say that customers did not seem fatigued at all, and in fact, seemed to be asking for more. The cloud-focused sessions were some of the hottest at VMWorld. There is no question that cloud is transforming IT, and most organizations have realized it and are jumping on the bandwagon. They have a lot of questions they want answered, but the question of “is cloud a fad” has been answered with a resounding NO.

 

 

4)          Confidentiality or availability?

 

 

Honestly, security did not seem to be that hot of a topic this year. Perhaps folks are starting to understand the risks of cloud computing and coming to grip with those risks. It seemed to me like the fear was much more “how do I handle an outage at my cloud provider” and “how do I ensure certain workloads aren’t run in certain countries” than “what do I do when my provider gets hacked.” Of course – this could be a selection bias, we were at VMWorld and not BlackHat after all.

 

 

5)          The next big thing

 

 

Fortunately or unfortunately from your point of view, cloud seems to be here to stay for a few more years. I think we will see things move up the stack with more of a focus on apps running on the cloud, and PaaS. Most organizations seem to be starting with IaaS, at least for their private clouds. As organizational comfort increases with IaaS clouds, the conversation will likely turn to apps and PaaS – but that’s probably a year out for most of the market, aside from a few niches here and there.

 

What VMWorld lacked in exciting new releases this year, it made up for in customers enthusiasm for the cloud. The deployment scenarios I heard were more interesting than ever, and it truly looks like cloud is gathering enough steam to take over all of IT. It hasn’t quite graduated to the level that virtualization has achieved, but it’s not far off.

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I’ve been at VMworld for years and years. I’ve done the show as a startup in the new innovator pod – and as a large vendor with 10 times the budget. Every year, VMworld has a certain rhythm.

 

  1. The first 2 days are exciting and electric, and by Thursday no one knows why the show floor is open
  2. It is almost impossible to predict the quality or content of any sessions from their title – so you’re best off chasing knownpresenters
  3. As you stand in your booth, the delicious promise of walking the show floor tantalizes you. Once you’re walking the floor, you wonder what you had hoped to find. Announcem ents come up, get deb ated, and are typically dismissed by Wednesday. That’s why we did our Cloud Operations announcement a few weeks back.

 

But, this year, things were a bit different. 5 years later,I can say that this show felt like a different show to me.

 

  • The market has matured. Last year, there was alot of “why do I need a cloud?” and this year, there was a lot of “how do I monitor cloud service levels?”  I was very impressed with the enterprise adoption and sophistication in this domain –in only 12 months.
  • There was no real buzzy announcement – no giant acquisition, no big new strategy. Typically, you can count on 1-2 good conversation starters like “what did you think of Software,Inc’s decision to get into hardware?”
  • Everyone was American (or Canadian) . In years past, both the vendors and the customers who attended came from far away places.Sure, a lot of it might be recession and financial concerns – but I think it also speaks to the role of the show in the broader cloud ecosystem. I missed the innovative small vendors!

 

A long week, great conversations, and wonderful customer meetings. And we enjoyed being “the guys in the white fedoras.”  Thank you all who stopped by the booth – and if you missed it, drop us a note. We can swing by with a demo and a Good Cloud/Bad Cloud t-shirt!Picture2.jpg

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