By Sramana Mitra and guest author Shaloo Shalini
SM: Dave, can you share names of the application vendors that cater to your specific requirements for private or public cloud–based solutions?
DH: We are using EDP for our payroll systems and payroll management. We actually have a ‘Sales Tax and Use Tax’ application that we get from another service provider as well. Our HR team uses a resume management services which is a very small application, and I don’t remember the name of that, either. But it is an ASP model solution.
SM: What about on the private cloud side? How is your private cloud configured?
DH: It is based mostly on VMWare technology. We have both Cisco and HP servers, Cisco networks transport and storage catered by using EMC and HP storage solutions.
SM: By private cloud, are you referring to primary virtualization infrastructure?
DH: Yes. To us, that is what private cloud means. Private cloud is virtualizing your own infrastructure and taking control of your own assets but optimized through virtualization.
SM: That is not necessarily the definition that we use for private cloud. I wanted to set the context of how you define your private clouds because there are a number of definitions.
DH: How do you define it?
SM: There are a number of companies that are putting entire applications in a private cloud setting. Well, this is the same way that you have, for example, a Salesforce automation system in the public cloud; you could also be putting your own Salesforce automation in the private cloud, or any other application for that matter. So, virtualization is not necessarily the end game in the private cloud. What we are seeing is a much more sophisticated application of the concept or much more sophisticated deployments of the private cloud as part of our series Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing on the blog.
DH: Great. Can you give me an example of a product that you say some vendors are creating a private cloud [with]?
SM: IBM is creating an entire stack to support this kind of private cloud deployment. You may want to look at the IBM set of interviews that we have published already as part of this Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing series.
There are a lot of large companies that are doing this; all of the Fortune 500 and particularly the Fortune 50 that want to put more applications in a private cloud-like environment. In terms of the stack that is required to roll out the private cloud environment, IBM is providing a lot of that, and they are experimenting with rolling those out internally within their IT infrastructure as part of the process. A lot of the analytics applications are going in as private clouds as well.
DH: So, would you consider the HP Matrix stack a private cloud offering or the EMC-Cisco VCE coalition a private cloud?
SM: It is part of the infrastructure of rolling out a private cloud than saying private cloud is not just the infrastructure piece. It is the full workloads that have been deployed as private cloud. A lot of companies are rolling out analytics infrastructure in a private cloud as an example.
DH: So for example, just to clear up the definition so that we are on the same page, the VCE coalition just announced a V block that is optimized for SAP and a V block that is optimized for VDI. Is that what you would consider a private cloud?
SM: No, I don’t think we need to be caught up in semantics; the definition of private cloud goes beyond those. The only point I was making is that the definition of the private cloud goes beyond virtualization.
SM: Getting back to your infrastructure at Presidio, when you think about your strategy of moving your infrastructure to the cloud, what is the game plan behind it? What is the organizing principle of how you are thinking about cloud computing today?
DH: We are thinking about cloud computing in two terms: one, how do we get through access to new services? Two, how do we lower costs? The question before us is, How I can improve my IT situation in general regardless of whether I am moving existing infrastructure or existing applications to a cloud model or whether I am bringing in new applications? The question is to analyze what are the benefits, both in terms of dollars and in terms of new capabilities that are lawfully needed. Then you need to figure out what are the risks associated with say using the cloud computing model? We try to make a business decision based on these aspects. I would say that moving to the cloud just for the sake of moving to the cloud is not a good strategy.