Multiple global datacenters => one virtual datacenter? I think not…

I was just reading Nick Heath’s article Private Cloud: Turning corporate datacentres into a global virtual machine posted on about the potential of private cloud turning global datacenters into a massive, global VM, and it made me recall a somewhat-famous quote from Sun Microsystems on cloud from a couple of years back – to paraphrase: All enterprise IT will be run out of facilities hosted by a handful of service providers within the next decade. (I don’t remember the exact timeframe, but I do recall chuckling out loud when I read it).

Now this particular “global VM” article by Nick Heath wasn’t worthy of a chuckle, but--seriously? Who in their right mind would be entertaining a near-term strategy to string together all of their datacenter assets into a single shared resource pool, where apps and workloads could cross the pond(s) and back on a whim? Don’t get me wrong – this is a wonderful vision, with incredible economics of scale and efficiency behind it – but cloud computing is in its infancy and it still has significant political, data security, and financial reporting issues that need to be resolved before a monumental project such as this could be entertained.

When it comes to cloud computing, organizations of all sizes need to start small, either within a specific group (e.g. developers and testers of a BU) or class of apps (eg. stateless Java apps performing simple request/response). From there, they can get the kinks out, work the politics, figure out the chargeback models, etc. You could certainly implement this approach across multiple datacenters/geographies to support these teams/businesses now (some of our early adopters are doing just that), but not for the sake of having an über-global cloud.

You don’t need some science-fiction, futuristic cloud model to realize the economics of private cloud – a small bite will do.


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