This is a huge challenge for the customers I’ve worked with who have decided to consider an IaaS cloud to host their application. I work with a lot of federal customers and they have a mandate to look at cloud alternative prior to expanding existing data centers. When looking at traditional server focused applications this is a little less of an issue since those workloads are pretty portable across clouds.
By portable I mean there’s not much difference between an instance of Windows or Linux running on Rackspace vs. AWS. I can recover those instances from backup on either infrastructure. The challenge we run into outside of the obvious security concerns are what API’s to commit to when you want to build cloud aware applications.
Don’t get me started on the frustration of trying to offer a brokering service that CloudFoundry is supposed to be for these customers.
I get press releases every week about some new (or old!) company and their so-called cloud solution. Some folks are clearly abusing the popularity of the “cloud” buzzword, and others are actually doing interesting things with distributed computing, infrastructure- and platform-as-a-service, orchestration, and related technologies. Amazon is the prime mover on IaaS, but OpenStack, CloudStack and Eucalyptus are all making strong plays in that space. VMware’s Cloud Foundry and Red Hat’s OpenShift are pushing open source PaaS, while services like Heroku, Engine Yard and dotCloud (among others) are pushing to be your hosted PaaS solution.
It’s not surprising that so many people are looking to differentiate their cloud solutions, and on the balance I think competition is a good thing that eventually benefits end-users. But as things stand today, it strikes me as exceedingly hard to formulate a comprehensive “cloud strategy” given the plethora of options.
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