Infrastructure will Determine Future of Cloud Computing

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rahul Neel Mani

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By Rahul Neel Mani

Rolf Kleinwächter, Head of Managed Office and Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Fujitsu, agrees that it is still the early days of cloud computing, but says his company is prepared to cash in on the new developments...

Q:‘Infrastructure-as-a-Service’ enables more effcient and scalable provisioning of virtual machines, but it doesn’t seem to solve the challenges of business process integration, workfow, security, compliance, monitoring, management and automation that customers need. How does Fujitsu look at it and have you provisioned solutions to these problems in your IaaS offerings?

A: You have to take into account that IaaS is only one of the four layers within Fujitsu’s Dynamic Infrastructures portfolio. Our Infrastructureas-a-Service offerings, which are now being rolled out across the region, enable the dematerialisation of IT hardware. Assets that were previously fixed costs can be removed from the balance sheet and transformed into variable costs. The pay-as-you-go Infrastructure-as-a-Service model, which is already the accepted standard for services such as telecommunications, electricity and water, is now extended to computing resources.

With Fujitsu’s I-a-a-S for Server, which is the frst offering, companies have the option of replacing all or some of their on-premise hardware with a simple, secure plug-in connection – with physical servers located in dedicated, purpose-built and secure Fujitsu data centers. Our trusted PRIMERGY server product line and the combination of ETERNUS storage as well as network and software experience provide all the necessary components for reliable and dynamic server resource allocation. And our service orchestration ensures that customers can combine the I-a-a-S for Server with their own on-premise Dynamic Infrastructures.

We recognise and appreciate that there is no “one size fts all” approach to IT, therefore we offer a variety of different offerings. IaaS for Server is not specifcally designed to solve the business and workfow challenges that you mention. These are addressed by different part of the Dynamic Infrastructures portfolio. For example, customers who want a totally worry-free solution can opt for Managed Services, where Fujitsu takes over the management of existing IT infrastructures – then all that the customer has to manage is the payment of a monthly invoice.

Q:Switching on to IaaS for servers, companies can benefit from service provisioning, scaling and load balancing, etc. But won’t the customer get locked in with a proprietary hardware/software? How do you provide standardized customer-choice based infrastructure?

A: With our IaaS for server offering we are providing both standard and customized server solutions, all running on Industry Standard x86 servers, with a variety of standard operating systems. Therefore the customer should not be locked in; in fact, quite the opposite, since we are offering standard platforms. For customers who want more of a customized solution, it’s also possible to order a “bare metal” server via IaaS. But this is not about lock in. This is about simply moving the physical server hardware out of your datacentre and into a datacentre operated by Fujitsu.

Q:Large enterprises work in cycles that are much slower than the pace of innovation in the industry. Changing IT systems while work is in progress is akin to changing the foundation of a house that you continue to live in. How would you change this conservative thinking especially in places like India?

A: That’s exactly the point. We are not asking enterprises to take a leap of faith or go through a paradigm shift here. Instead, we are increasing the variety of choice, by providing customers with alternative delivery models that they can use how they see ft (by scaling up or down). This means a company might try IaaS for server for the frst time to handle the extra server power demand generated by month-end reporting. It gives companies the ability to augment existing services and an effective transition path for quickly, cost effectively and safely moving to new delivery approaches. The IaaS offerings are designed to be fexible with the focus on “as-a-Service”, which means that we give customers the fexibility they need, so that IT infrastructure can provide a positive contribution to their business.

Q:If I am a CIO, I would not like to move my entire IT portfolio to a single cloud provider. How do I keep my cloud deployments in sync? Are they interoperable? Can I move things from one cloud to another? How will you give a convincing answer on these issues?

A: You are right in stating that today there are no standards in cloud. It’s a very fair point to make that many CIOs will not want to move their entire IT portfolio to a single provider at this point. It’s still early days of cloud infrastructure.

Fujitsu is also able to offer a hybrid model, where customers can mix and match different types of services within the same domain. For example, in future, a customer will be able to choose a combination of Infrastructure-as-a-Service for Server and Managed Server. This mix is something that helps differentiate Fujitsu from standard offerings, and gives customers greater fexibility to set up their infrastructure so that both price-performance and Quality of Service are always optimised, no matter what.

Q: Can a CIO tie the Quality of Service (QoS) that he needs to provide to the business with the elasticity of the cloud?

A: Yes, we think so – by being shrewd and making a choice of what services are best being run over cloud infrastructures, and which ones are best kept in-house. For example, we have already seen the emergence of many dedicated hosted email services, and web-based CRM systems, which are two great examples of services that work very well in the cloud. We offer customers professional assistance in determining and tiering the services that they are considering placing in the cloud, so that organisations can find the sweet spot in terms of both price-performance and Quality of Service.

Q:Fujitsu claims that storage and server services they provide as Dynamic Infrastructure are from leading vendors. Can you elaborate?

A: Fujitsu is a top four IT services vendor, worldwide. We are also a Tier One vendor of storage and servers. In addition, we have a slate of world-class partners including NetApp, Cisco and others as fully-integrated parts of our end-to-end solution.

Q:Looking ahead, what plans has Fujitsu drawn? There was to be a further announcement detailing the full Infrastructure-as- a-Service suite during autumn.

A: It’s still early days for our IaaS portfolio. We’ll have more announcements this year. The focus will be online storage and backup expansion.

 

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Cloud Ninja This is a great article & provides some great insight - not only to Fujitsu's future in the Cloud - but trends in on the Cloud.

There is alot of thrashing in this space and it is hard to determine which Cloud to goto as everyone is doing something a little different – its hard to compare Cloud 2 Cloud. A similar diagnosis is by David Chappell:
"If I ruled the world”, says David Chappell, “I would make the phrase ‘private cloud’ illegal”. In conversation with David Gristwood, David Chappell, during his recent world tour, discusses Windows Azure, its importance and role in the partner ecosystem, and other cloud players, such as Google, Amazon,

Salesforce.com, VMware and more. You can see his Cloud2Cloud comparison in brief here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7NHQdh8_uo

I found a similar and insightful talk on this topic with David Chappell on this topic where he covers others issues such as:
- IaaS vs PaaS
- Private vs Public Cloud
- Applications that are not a great fit for the Cloud and those which are.
- The threat of Public Cloud to IT departments
see: http://channel9.msdn.com/posts/David+Gristwood/Conversations-with-David-Chappell-about-Windows-Azure-and-Cloud-Computing/

thoughts?

hope that helps,
-cn
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