The reasons for moving to a virtualized cloud environment aren't always the soundest, but enterprise IT departments are finding good reasons to stay there -- so long as they can avoid the unfounded hype and keep abreast of current developments.
Previously, in Part 1 of this Telco Transformation Q&A, Chris McReynolds, vice president of core network services for product management at Level 3 Communications Inc. (NYSE: LVLT), talked extensively about how to best implement monitoring, measuring and troubleshooting solutions in a virtualized cloud environment, including how virtualization and cloud computing effectively complement each other to this end.
Now, in Part 2, McReynolds discusses the relationship between virtualization and the cloud, where the real bottom lines are for virtualization- and cloud-adopting CIOs, and how the tech industry is responding to these needs.
Telco Transformation: Some industry research has found that for many enterprises adopting digital-transformation solutions, such as IoT, the impetus has not been one of saving money, but rather they were swayed by how they could make money. In the context of virtualization and cloud, do you see something similar -- where people are more swayed by new revenue streams -- or do you see the opposite, or is it 50-50?
Chris McReynolds: What I've seen most commonly, and this won't be an exciting answer, is that their CIO has been reading the noise around cloud for multiple years -- and this is partly a comment more applicable to a year ago -- and they said, "We need to be in the cloud," and they tell their IT department to do that. And they find some application to push in to say they're in the cloud. That is how most companies enter the cloud, and most did storage because it was easy and they could check the box.
Since then it has been more around agility, so all of that TestDev application work that has kind of led the expansion of the cloud on the front end was about them being able to develop new applications to get to market more quickly. Either beat the competition with existing revenue streams or create new ones before their competition could. I think there are very strong parallels. It's been less about pure cost savings in most enterprises that we talk to.
TT: Since you mentioned the archetypal CIO who says, "Oh, gee, everybody's talking about the cloud; I guess I should get some of that," where would you say is the hype right now in terms of the cloud and virtualization versus where's the real "beef?" What are we hearing a lot of that we really shouldn't be paying that much attention to, and what are we perhaps not hearing enough about in terms of what we should be adopting and/or what we don't necessarily need to be concerned with so much?
CM: I think the hype, and I think this will get there one day, is around the scaleout you will hear about. The vision of scaleout that everyone talks about is where the application automatically calls additional assets and spins up new things when you have -- we must have 2,000 to 3,000 applications at Level 3 -- different ones need different assets at different times. When they become self-aware and turn up that different capacity themselves, then many applications run very well together, but I just haven't seen any enterprise implement it incredibly effectively yet. So I say scaleout's hype for now. At least in an automated fashion, I should say. They manually force the scaleout today.
TT: To what extent do you specifically see standards and/or open source playing a role in virtualized cloud cost management?
CM: I think this is pretty far off. Some groups like the MEF are trying to move beyond SDN and network standardization into NFV standardization, but I think getting Amazon Web Services Inc. or Azure or Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) to standardize on their implementations in a space where they innovate so rapidly will be a tall order.
TT: What would be your final thoughts in terms of virtualization's best role in a hybrid or public cloud environment?
CM: Yeah, I think they have to co-exist, so I think there's going to be a need for enterprise-owned infrastructure or servers in most cases. I think virtualizing that infrastructure makes the most efficient use of it. And then I think where it needs to go, and VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW) is making a strong push here [because] they have such a huge embedded base of the enterprise virtualized software [that] if they can tie that to their or other cloud providers' environments, that's going to start to solve that visibility and intermingling of private world to public world challenge that we mentioned earlier. IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)'s trying to do the same thing with their old hosted applications -- it's all called BlueMix now -- and there are software-layer acquisitions, so the public cloud environment is there.
— Joe Stanganelli, Contributing Writer, Telco Transformation
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