Sorry I am getting mathematical here, but I have been talking to many people about this lately and be astonished most people do not look at things in such a simple way. To build a cloud, being it private or public, you fundamentally need three things, one or more data centres that are virtualized and automated, a network that links those DC’s with the end user, and a device through which the end user accesses the services.
When having cloud discussions, people typically jump into the data centres, start talking about software stacks and DC optimization, I do not dispute the importance of that in any way, but feel that, by only looking at the DC, we sub-optimize the approach.
The typical feedback I get is that we have the internet, so why should we worry about the network. Well, I don’t know about you, but how often have I been starring at a small circle that turns around when I try to look at a video on youtube or any other website?
This infinite bandwidth pipe, called the internet, may not be that infinite after all.
This is why I have been looking at what we really need for an integrated DC/Network approach. Two days ago I received an e-mail from Amazon announcing the immediate availability of cluster GPU’s. With that they hope to appeal to high end gamers and to product design and engineering. But how quickly will the complex images and drawing travel over the internet?
Ideally what you want is an integrated provisioning and management of DC/network capabilities. If you require 25 VM’s for a graphic intensive operation, you want to make sure the VM’s are hosted in a DC that has a high bandwidth/low latency network path to your place. And if for one reason or another that link degrades while you are using it, you would like the appropriate rerouting to take place to ensure your quality of experience.
Indeed, the companies that will be able to manage the experience end-to-end, from the device to the DC and back, that will provide superior cloud services to the user, particularly in environments where large amounts of data need to be exchanged between the device and the DC. All is in the equation Cloud=DC + Network + Device.