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FCW : November and December 2014
Freeing Up the Cloud Thomas Scheibe, director of product management for Nexus 9000/ACI at Cisco Systems, says customers keep asking Cisco to find ways to make provisioning IT infrastruc ture more agile. Scheibe says many customers have held back from signing on with a public IaaS provider because they are concerned that in a multitenant IT environment, they may have limited guarantees that the provider can protect their data. However, Cisco has developed a way to enforce dynamic group policies based on the identity of the endpoint — whether a server or virtual machine — as opposed to the location of a server. “ When policies are based on application location, shifting applications into the cloud creates risk,” says Scheibe. “ But if the policies are based on endpoint identity, policy enforcement becomes consistent across private- and public-cloud locations. Once the location becomes less significant, it should give organizations the confidence to run more sensitive applications such as HR in the cloud.” Scheibe says Cisco views its group-based policy approach, introduced with its Application Centric Infrastruc ture (ACI), as the missing link in IaaS evolution. “ We are in the infrastruc ture business, so we’re selling to enterprises that still want to run their infrastruc ture in-house, as well as all the leading IaaS service providers,” he says. “ Most organizations will still take a gradual approach to the cloud, and there’s no question that there will be many hybrid applications out there, but as people become more comfortable with our approach to identity management, we’re confident that more organizations will see IaaS as a more efficient way to acquire and manage infrastructure.” Scheibe compares this IaaS evolution to the one IT departments hosting and managed network services programs, Such an approach permits IT staff members and developers to leverage the speed and agility of the public cloud in tandem with the existing tools, systems and policies they use in the enterprise data center. Legacy applications built on a traditional client-server IT architecture and contained within virtual machines in an enterprise data center can, in fact, run unchanged in a public-cloud environment if the onsite hypervisor is consistent with the virtualization environment in the public cloud. “ Based on VMware’s software- defined data center technologies, including vSphere, the vCloud Hybrid Service is VMware customers’ path to the public cloud, because it leverages the management framework and tools customers are already using to support current applications and workloads,” says Posey. Much of how IT departments will use hybrid cloud services will depend on their applications. At least in the beginning, explains ESG’s Bowker, most organizations will likely host infrastructure that runs applications such as human resources in-house because they contain sensitive medical data and personally identifiable information. Public organizations, for example, may initially shy away from hosting their financial information in the cloud. “ But enterprises will want to run a desktop and project it out to an endpoint device via a cloud service,” he says. “ With hosted desktops, IT has better control because everything is centrally managed. We also see niches developing for different specialties — service providers that specialize in e-commerce applications and understand the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, or those that understand all the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements for medical applications.” 67 VMWARE’S CLOUD COMPASS Many organizations are unsure of how to proceed with cloud computing and Infrastructure as a Service. Is an operation better suited to the public cloud, a private cloud or a hybrid solution? What is the total cost of ownership for a cloud implementation? VMware’s Cloud Compass can help find some answers to these and other key questions. The compass asks a user about the specific workload an organization is interested in. Once the user has entered information about his or her organization and its plans to use the cloud, the compass evaluates risk, returns and potential expectations, then generates a report with recommendations. To learn more about VMware’s Cloud Compass, go to: http://blogs.vmware.com/ accelerate/2013/08/vmware- cloud-compass-tool-powered- by-alinean.html made in recent years in converging their voice and data networks. “ In the beginning, people felt it was a risk, but now just about all voice and data networks are converged and run over IP,” he says. The efficiencies IaaS offers are simply too profound. Competing in today’s global economy requires that organizations can move fast and provision IT resources — or decommission them — as new projects and priorities arise. IaaS can deliver the agility that’s required to stay competitive. CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 64-67 GSO145298.indd 4 9/23/14 11:37 AM