One of the questions raised during the roundtable was how much of the cloud conversation centred on internal, rather than external, hosted clouds.
“I think there’s a lot of both going on and I think you’d be hard pressed to find an organisation that that doesn’t have an external hosted service, whether it be for payroll, timesheets or expenses, coupled with plenty of services they provision and build themselves,” VMware’s Dan McLean said. “I think all customers are looking for a mix. There are multiple personalities that cloud will present, whether it’s infrastructure, software and services. One of the first ones is still that internal, enterprise cloud.”
McLean said enterprise customers he was discussing cloud with today were focused on the ability to leverage their own enterprise toolsets and build processes around existing investments, which would then give them the link into external clouds. Ingram Micro’s Tertius Bezuidenhout said cloud adoption also depended on the maturity of the clouds and technology on offer.
“Internal clouds are almost a combination of technologies that have reached maturity – things like server, network and storage virtualisation, operating environment virtualisation, service-oriented architectures, object-oriented programming,” he said. “It’s a culmination of factors that enable us to deliver these cloud services and manage them.
“For people to experience that in-house, we started with server virtualisation, where there were cost benefits. Then we moved into the flexibility of such a solution, then how quickly services could be deployed. With service-oriented architectures, you began to be able to move applications quickly around your own environment. I think it will start triggering that movement of stuff onto the cloud.”
Diaxion’s Tony Wilkinson said interest in internal versus external clouds also depended on what was considered best-of-breed, as well as the maturity of the organisation’s IT understanding and environment.
“For start-ups, having everything in the cloud is well-suited; for enterprises, there will be parts of the business which will adopt a cloud service but the core infrastructure will stay internal,” he said. “If they want mobility, the cloud offerings on the market at the moment don’t offer it, so they will build their own internal cloud and workflow it by putting in internal service level management and monitoring. So when there is an external offering that’s fully mobile and can take advantage of it.”