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Monday
Nov052012

Are we seeing the renaissance of enterprises in the cloud?

A series of recent surveys on the subject seems to indicate that this is indeed the case:

Research conducted by HPclip_image001 found that the majority of businesses in the EMEA region are planning to move their mission-critical apps to the cloud. Of the 940 respondents, 80 percent revealed plans to move mission-critical apps at some point over the next two to five years.

A more recent survey, by research firm MeriTalkclip_image001[1] and sponsored by VMware and EMC (NYSE:EMCclip_image001[2]), showed that one-third of respondents say they plan to move some mission-critical applications to the cloud in the next year. Within two years, the IT managers said they will move 26 percent of their mission-critical apps to the cloud, and in five years, they expect 44 percent of their mission-critical apps to run in the cloud.

The Challenge - How to Bring Hundreds of Enterprise Apps to the Cloud

The reality is that cloud economics only start making sense when there are true workloads that utilize the cloud infrastructure.

If the large majority of your apps fall outside of this category, then you’re not going to benefit much from the cloud. In fact, you’re probably going to lose money, rather than save money.

The Current Approach

  • Focus on building IaaS - Current cloud strategies of many enterprises has been centered on making the infrastructure cloud ready. This basically means ensuring that they are able to spawn machines more easily than they were before. A quick look at many initiatives of this nature shows that there is still only a small portion of enterprises whose applications run on such new systems.
  • Build a new PaaS - PaaS has been taught as the answer to run apps on the cloud. The reality however, is that most of the existing PaaS solutions only cater to new apps and quite often the small, and “non” mission-critical share of our enterprise applications, which still leaves the majority of our enterprise workload outside of our cloud infrastructure.
  • App Migration as a One Off Project - The other approach for migrating applications to the cloud has been to select a small group of applications, and then migrate these one by one to the cloud. Quite often the thought behind this approach has been that application migration is a one-off project. The reality is that applications are more of a living organism – things fail, are moved, or need to be added and removed over time. Therefore it’s not enough to move apps to the cloud using some sort of virtualization technique, it’s critical that the way they’re run and maintained will also fit the dynamic nature of the cloud.

Why is This not Going to Work?

Simple math shows that if you apply this model to the rest of your apps, it’s probably going to take years of effort to migrate all your apps to the cloud. The cost of doing so is going to be extremely high, not to mention the time to market issue which can be even an even greater risk in the end, as it will reflect on cost of operation, profit margins and even the ability to survive in this an extremely competitive market, if it is too long.

What's missing?

What we’re missing is a simple and systematic way to brings all these hundreds and thousands of apps to the cloud.

Moving Enterprise Workloads to the Cloud at a Massive Scale

Instead of thinking of cloud migration as a one-off thing, we need to think of cloud migration on a massive scale.

Thinking in such terms drives a fairly different approach.

In this post, I outlined what i believe should be the main principles for moving enterprise application at such a scale.

Read full post: http://www.cloudifysource.org/2012/10/30/moving_enterprise_workloads_to_the_cloud_on_a_massive_scale.html

Reader Comments (2)

This is a great post. Good summary of the issues in moving existing enterprise apps to the cloud.

Its not an easy problem to solve, and additional layers of management are not the answer (in my opinion). In fact, I will be posting a blog soon on the very specific challenges that an enterprise faces when moving an application to the cloud. In summary, its nearly impossible with the way things are today (assuming you want to make no changes to the application).

What the industry needs is an infrastructure layer that absorbs the complexity - and in turn allows enterprises a way to move their multi-VM/distributed applications (along with networking config, application config, storage config etc.) to the cloud *without any changes whatsoever*. In essence, this infrastructure layer needs to make the public cloud (any public cloud) look and feel like an enterprise data center. However, since the underlying infrastructure in a cloud is different from the datacenter, this infrastructure needs to supply services to the application as a whole (collection of VMs) - like networking, storage, availability etc. - exactly as the application expects to see it as if it were running in the datacenter.

We believe that the most effective way to solve this problem is with a new virtualization layer that abstracts the entire application - multiple VMs, networking ,storage etc. We have been working on this problem for a while and just released our beta. Take a look and let us know what you think. www.ravellosystems.com

November 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNavin R. Thadani

This is something that my new startup, Appeos is aiming to address, by allowing business people to create their own applications in the cloud. In the late 1990's I was doing a consulting gig for Ericsson where they wanted to consolidate "mission-critical" applications that their users relied on to run their business. They did an audit and found that there were over 800 applications that their IT people knew nothing about and couldn't support, even though their business relied upon it. For example, there was an old laptop that had a spreadsheet used to price telecoms switches (many millions of dollars each), but the person who wrote it had left and nobody knew how it worked.
I have seen similar stories at almost all client sites over the past twenty years and this got me thinking that there must be a better way. Having IT lock everything down doesn't work, so the idea is to allow business users to create what they want in an environment where they can't put the business at risk.
There is a prototype version of Appeos being used every day in a multi-billion dollar insurance company. I gave half a day of training to one of their executives to show them what kind of thing you could build. I went back a few month later and discovered that they'd used it to create several applications, including a full-service HR system and a multi-class insurance underwriting and claims management system with over a thousand screens, which they'd rolled out to the whole business and were using to write hundreds of millions of dollars of business per year. Total IT developer time after that initial half-day training? Zero.
The plan is to launch Appeos next year (2013), so if anyone has any questions or comments, please let me know @Appeos on Twitter, or email Appeos.com@gmail.com and I'll get back to you.

November 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Jones

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