Comparing Technology Enabler Companies in Cloud Computing
7 of 17 in Series: The Essentials of Services in Cloud Computing
Just about any technology company that offers solutions for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), service management, security, testing, storage, virtualization, and network management (to name but a few) are revamping their offerings so they can be sold for the cloud computing environment. Some cynics call this cloud washing. The reality is that cloud computing needs all these technologies.
These companies are grouped together because their cloud offerings are focused on hardware and/or software technology and less on implementation services. For the most part, they have one or more of the key technology components required to build a cloud.
VMware’s cloud strategy and technology road map is focused on private clouds and providing a way to bridge to external clouds through private clouds. With virtualization as the key underpinning technology enabling cloud infrastructures, VMware has identified three key building blocks for the private cloud:
The cloud operating system
Service level management
Federation and standards
The company can provide a portion of these requirements and relies on partners for the remainder.
VMware provides the cloud operating system for private clouds through its software solution called vSphere. The company refers to this solution as a cloud operating system because it manages the data center infrastructure components (CPUs, storage, and networking), just as a computer operating system (like Linux or Windows) manages the components of a computer.
CA is well positioned to help companies manage the mediation layer between private and public clouds. CA expects that your company will want to take advantage of public cloud services for a portion of your workload, but need to manage these public services into connection with private cloud implementations.
CA’s strategy is to provide services that help you understand where specific workloads are running (public versus private cloud) and where they should be running for optimal performance and productivity gains. CA can help your company understand and manage the security and provision requirements between private and public cloud workloads. In addition, CA expects to offer its cloud services to service providers as well as directly to businesses, but doesn’t plan to be a provider of public clouds like Google or Amazon.
Platform Computing, Inc.
Platform Computing is an independent cloud management software company that is well known in the industry for its clusters and grids. With a strong background in high-performance computing, the company has developed all the components required for building a private cloud. Platform’s approach is to work with partners to help your company deliver IT as a service by implementing private clouds.
The company’s offering for the cloud, Platform ISF, creates a shared computing infrastructure from physical and virtual resources. This shared infrastructure delivers application environments according to specific policies that take into account the various workloads, available resources, and the relationship between them.
Rackspace is an enterprise-hosting provider with the majority of its customer base in the cloud. The company has three core products that all deliver computing as a service:
Rackspace Managed Hosting
Rackspace Email and Apps
Rackspace Cloud focuses on hosting Web sites for its customers. It provides storage space, bandwidth usage, and compute cycles. It also has a service for companies that want to gradually move their whole operation into the cloud.
3Tera’s AppLogic is a grid operating system (supporting platform) designed to support cloud computing. It supports middleware and Web applications under this operating system. Therefore, AppLogic is used by 3Tera partners to help virtualize software, which makes for easier management in a cloud environment.
Eucalyptus Systems is an open-source software infrastructure for implementing cloud computing on clusters, a group of computers linked together in a way that allows the group to work as one computer. Companies use software from Eucalyptus to build private, public, or hybrid clouds.
You can use Eucalyptus software along with IT resources (servers, networks, storage) to form your own data center into a private cloud. Many companies building private clouds are concerned about the lack of standards in this emerging area. They don’t want to make a choice now that will lock them in to a specific vendor and make it hard to switch in the future.