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April 25, 2014

Cloud: The King of Green Capitalism

The cloud is inspired by rebels who – by anyone’s stretch of the imagination – can only be described as conquerors of the digital age. We are on a mission, it’s that simple. So when the garden variety server, network, and storage vendor (you know who you scoundrels are) comes at us with their oh-so-green “energy wise” pitch? Well, pardon us when we just have to wince a bit! You see, it’s a bit hard to take all you used-car-salesmen-turned-tech-mavens seriously when you’ve got an innumerable myriad of 30amp 208v circuits hanging out of the back of your gear like an octopus on crack. As we walk away, the vendor rep invariably shouts his retort, “What does power consumption mean to you anyway?!” It’s like a line straight of the classic scene in the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” where Balin the Crusader, after an epic series of battles, finally surrenders Jerusalem, but asks Saladin, “What is Jerusalem worth?”  The iconic reply is “nothing”, followed by a few more steps as Saladin walks away and then stops, turns, grins and admits “everything”. Similarly, the pitched battle between private infrastructure and public cloud is over. Cloud has won, and the terms of surrender are the enterprise’s migration out of their under siege infrastructure to a better world. But, cloud wins by far more than just the absolute stark contrast of alien technology it uses, but just as importantly, by the insanely innovative cost modeling used to ensure its success. Cloud is the King of Green Capitalism – while some talk it, cloud lives it. How?

Dear VMware: Private Cloud is a MYTH

Mere virtualization is NOT cloud – and cloud aficionados know this. The cloud wise vs. cloud wary know this. The enterprise guy with a cloud eye knows this. And now, a quick history lesson…

In my opinion, hybrid cloud was the myth foisted upon companies of all sizes by VMware. I spoke at VMworld in 2011; the theme was “Your Cloud, Own It” – why, you ask? Aha, because they had to keep slinging that hypervisor one-hit-wonder hash to the enterprise masses because VMware was doing such a very poor job at a real cloud strategy with any tangible credibility that their enterprise customers just couldn’t buy into it. So for years, this strategy of myth propagation was literally a virtual tap dance, until a bigger lie with a smattering of truth was conjured up (aka the Desktone acquisition) that VMware is now a CLOUD company. Meanwhile, the virtual horde over at VMware keeps perpetuating the ridiculous idea that you could virtualize desktops using the same infrastructure as servers, that mere virtualization is cloud, and ignoring open standards to link any of these wondrous islands of software together between vendors. It’s an abject failure which has left VMware on the sidelines as Microsoft (News - Alert) chews up their hypervisor market, dinCloud chews up the virtual desktop world, Amazon eats the servers, and Google offers insanely low cloud storage. And, as time goes on, more of us cloud types are offering all of those under one roof: hosted servers, desktops, storage, transport and more in a real cloud that can mirror itself worldwide. 

In The Words of Eminem: Who’s The Real Slim Shady?

The real definition of cloud is being able to achieve one or more high quality of solutions with world class expertise, dizzying low cost models, and geographic reach across premium datacenters that ultimately don’t matter because programmatic cloud orchestration enhances availability, security, transport, metrics/reporting, distributed object storage with erasure coding, encryption everywhere, and much more in a total package that continues to adapt/change/innovate at a pace that a private cloud person couldn’t possibly keep pace with even at a Fortune 100.  

It’s not to say cloud is the Costco of the digital world – the mom and pop shops continue to thrive as important channel-centric symbiotic players in this digital ocean-like ecosystem. For example, a lot of services in the cloud, as well as procurement of hardware endpoints, software packages utilized in the cloud and much more is (in many clouds at least) all handled by channel partners (some very small, some big like CDW (News - Alert)). Many vertical vendors pop up in the cloud too –

 and for good reason – they realized it’s faster to use cloud as the “lego” building blocks of any architecture they dream up than to merely build it the old way (weeks of quotes, weeks of shipping, weeks of configuration, and a lifetime of support). In other words, they know private/hybrid cloud is a MYTH too.

Everything You Find in Your Datacenter, You Won’t Find in Mine

Enterprise datacenter managers had the luxury of racking anything that sucked electricity like it was going out of style simply because it was the facilities manager who paid the bill that the datacenter managers never saw. So while the enterprise guy is happy with his 30amp 208v blade sucking 10u system from Dell (News - Alert), HP, Cisco, or IBM, topped off with a Cisco Nexus 7000 series Ethernet switch of equal 30amp 208v heft, cloud guys are running pizza box servers with regular power cables with way more performance in 2u of space (typically a minimum server is 8cpu, 64 cores, 2TB memory) tied to an infiniband or cat6a ultra low latency Ethernet switch, either of which is also using regular power cables and delivering 10g or 40g aggregated uplinks of between 80-320gbps networking.

Let’s talk storage: the enterprise is carving up their storage capacity separately for file and block storage while paying 24.6 cents/GB/month vs. cloud at 4.5 cents/GB/month atop a unified object oriented platform capable of serving file, block and object storage simultaneously, and doing it with three geographically distributed copies encrypted with AES256bit.  Most enterprise arrays are Raid6, unencrypted, and perhaps mirrored offsite, but that’s it. The enterprise uses de-dupe, cloud uses far more advanced erasure coding techniques in storage platforms which scale infinitely and granularly.

Takeaways

Admit private cloud is a MYTH and stop trying to do it!  A fellow author, Peter Coffee from Salesforce.com (News - Alert), said it best in an article, “Today, running your business on private servers is on the same level of odd behavior as carrying scuba tanks to provide a private air supply.” Amen brother man! Next, buy yourself a calculator. Do the math on your costs and you will realize resistance is futile. It’s not a question of IF you should be in a private bubble of a public cloud but how many of them. Last but not least, if you’re really stuck on huffing and puffing into a plastic bag to create your own cloud, then by all means check out Nutanix.com. Armed with $172M in VC funding it’s about as close as you are ever going to get to a truly highly dense server with distributed object storage for the low, low price (last time I checked) of $180K, which at 40% off is $108K, for a server just about like the cloud which we buy for $44K. If I had gone to venture capital firms back in our startup days and said I was “revolutionizing the datacenter” and NOT that we were “cloud” I too probably could have had $172M in VC funding. But, I digress.

Get in the cloud! It’s cheap, fast, and delicious. I leave you on that positive note…

Yours truly,

Dr. Cloud

Mike L. Chase, J.D., CCIE# 7226 (mchase@dincloud.com) is the EVP/Chief Technology Officer for dinCloud, a cloud service provider and transformation company that helps businesses and public/private organizations rapidly migrate to the cloud through the hosting of servers, desktops, storage, and other cloud services via its strong channel base of VARs and MSPs. Visit dinCloud on LinkedIn (News - Alert): www.linkedin.com/company/dincloud.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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