Should Large Enterprises Keep Their Heads Out of the Clouds?

SAN FRANCISCO – Moving to the cloud will not suit every business and for some, the
cloud may not be the right answer, so they should look at their business requirements and
ask if moving to the cloud the right thing to do.

That’s the sentiment of a keynote speech here at a cloud computing forum hosted by
research firm IDC. “The larger and more efficient the enterprise, the less effective the
differential benefits of using SaaS or the cloud, and it may be better to keep things
in-house,” said Jason Waxman, general manager of Intel’s High Density Computing

IDC, as well as SaaS’s many proponents, have predicted that this year
would be
one of the major beneficiaries
of the move to the cloud as companies seek to cut

Aside from questionable benefits, there are some serious problems with moving to the
cloud for large enterprise firms, and that includes Intel, Waxman said. Security and
compliance are the main issues.

“People have the vision of
dynamic loads
in the cloud with great Utilization, but that has some limitations in
terms of accountability and security,” Waxman said. “If I don’t know where my data
resides, is it secure? And, if there’s an issue in financial transactions, where do you
pinpoint where the problem occurred?”

Co-speaker Deepak Puri, director of strategic alliances at VMware, said his company is
working with partners to solve security issues with Open Machine Virtual Format

OVF is a set of standards developed jointly by XenSource, which is owned by Citrix
Systems, VMware, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell. It lets applications moved to
the cloud take all the business policies associated with them, Puri said.

Already vendors have begun to leverage OVF. VMware unveiled VMware Studio, which uses
OVF, at VMworld 2008 in September, and Oracle is using the standard in its Oracle VM
Templates Suite, which lets users set up a production environment in minutes using
various Oracle applications.

Apart from OVF, companies could deal with security, compliance and auditing issues by
having applications with different security requirements in different environments, Puri
said. Some could be run in an enterprise’s data center, others in its internal cloud and
still others on the external cloud.

If there is a business case for going with cloud service providers, however,
enterprises should talk to their service providers, Waxman said. “We ask about security,
containment, identification, how the service provider does authentication, and if it
meets those requirements, we’ll look at it,” he said.

Cloud service providers also need to have a strong focus on management in the cloud,
Waxman said. “You need application lifecycle management, data management, and resources
for infrastructure management.”

An enterprise must know how to determine where workloads should reside and what
services attach to hardware, Waxman said. This can be done very well without the use of
virtualization, Waxman said, puncturing another commonly held concept about the cloud —
that it goes hand in hand with virtualization.

Intel, which sees itself as a
of all the big companies, is working with them to solve many of these

These include projects to simplify the network stack and power management projects.
“The tie between workloads and how they’re provisioned with power will be extremely
important,” Waxman said.

Article courtesy of

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