Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What Do We Mean by Cloud?

From Gravitant's blog.


“In all the ambiguity of what adds value to the Cloud or what facilitates the Cloud, Gravitant sits at the intersection of both, which makes it a pure Cloud company with all the experience, expertise, and solutions built around the Cloud.”

I’ve been writing mostly about what we’ve been developing for and around the Cloud in Gravitant, recently. Now is the time to elaborate a little bit about what’s being said and done about the Cloud outside of Gravitant. I am not intending to analyze specific articles, rather present an overall picture of the impression I get about what is out there and where Gravitant stands in this picture.
As Cloud is getting hype and determining the next generation of IT and what the Internet constitutes of, it is getting a whole lot of attention from the actors of the sector and beyond. While the Cloud has defined itself during its construction with a bottom-to-top approach, recently the new actors of the Cloud are trying to define/re-define the Cloud with a top-to-bottom view.
The concept of IT resource sharing can be dated back as far as the use of mainframe, the Internet, VMware, or EC2 depending on your perception. However, the name “Cloud” -which is cleverly set by the way- comes definitely after commoditization of IT resources, which is very recent. Before Cloud became the “Cloud”, standards of traditional IT had given direction to all innovative efforts towards Cloud. These efforts have been very technical and mostly motivated by infrastructure oriented improvements. Later on, the commoditization of IT resources has required the business model to be well defined. Although there is a lot of technical, infrastructural advancements noted, probably most of the focus is in the definition of business of the Cloud.
I have read many blog articles, white papers and research papers about the Cloud in addition to web content of cloud companies. If there is one thing common among all these articles, that is what exactly could be labeled as Cloud is not very clear. I get same kind of confusion among my colleagues as an Analytics professional, too. Most of the time, boundaries of the field of Analytics is not very clear. It makes sense in both cases, because their definitions of businesses are still in progress. However, I believe certain examples could draw a more indicative line of what could be called as a pure Cloud effort.
Most of the work branded as Cloud efforts are actually conversion of existing desktop software to SaaS. Especially, if you search keywords “Cloud” and “Analytics”, you will see many analytics tools as SaaS. Although I believe every type of Cloud effort is a brick in the wall while constructing a whole Cloud environment, I think we should start distinguishing what Cloud effort is made “for” cloud and what Cloud effort is made by “facilitating” Cloud. So if I have to give an example, if you convert a management software to a SaaS application, then you are “facilitating” Cloud. If this management software is used to manage your Cloud resources, then this is an effort made “for” Cloud. Although there is a considerable gray area in the intersection of the both, I hope the example makes itself clear to the reader. 
Where does Gravitant stand at this intersection? First of all, Gravitant is an established Cloud brokerage company which is enlisted by Gartner’s recent report on Cloud brokerage companies. NIST defines a cloud broker as “…an entity that manages the use, performance and delivery of cloud services and negotiates relationships between cloud providers and cloud consumers.” In the light of this definition, Gravitant’s CloudMatrix and CloudWiz tools manage all traditional IT resources and Cloud resources end to end from sourcing to provisioning and monitoring. They include very powerful and intelligent capacity planning, advanced monitoring and advanced analytics tools which enable enterprises to strategically and tactically plan capacity of their IT resources on the Cloud and in-house in addition to efficiently analyzing huge data collected from the resources and proposing the most effective Cloud Analytics solutions. All these efforts are made for Cloud to make Cloud a more manageable and less costly environment for IT needs of enterprises. 
On the other side, Gravitant’s major Cloud brokerage and management tools CloudMatrix andCloudWiz are ultimate user friendly, fast and smart SaaS applications. They naturally run on the Cloud very efficiently, reliably and securely. Gravitant runs all its other applications and internal IT resources on the Cloud. So Gravitant facilitates the Cloud and has the first-hand Cloud experience as a Cloud user.

Gravitant both adds value to the Cloud and uses it for its own benefit. All these Cloud centric activites make Gravitant a pure Cloud company. Gravitant’s Cloud network grows very fast day by day including Amazon, Terremark, Savvis, Rackspace, IBM, etc. There is a lot to learn about Gravitant’s cloud experience. If you have any ideas, thoughts or questions to add to this discussion of what is “for” cloud and what is “facilitating” cloud, please respond to this post or contact us so that we can share the intellectual part of the Cloud experience together.

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