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12/5/2008
08:58 PM
Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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Master Virtualization And You Master The Cloud

Intel has its own definition of cloud computing and it makes no reference to virtualization. But virtualization, like it or not, lies at the heart of how things will get done in the cloud. I noticed this disparity in a review of an Intel presentation posted by the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum.

Intel has its own definition of cloud computing and it makes no reference to virtualization. But virtualization, like it or not, lies at the heart of how things will get done in the cloud. I noticed this disparity in a review of an Intel presentation posted by the Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum.The Cloud Computing Interoperability Forum is simply a group of like-minded vendors, thinking out loud about a shared cloud infrastructure. Reuven Cohen, chief technologist and founder of Enomaly, a cloud vendor in Toronto, is one of the ringleaders.

He posted a slide presentation on cloud computing by Jake Smith and Parviz Pieravi of the Digital Enterprise Group at Intel to his ElasticVapor blog on Sept. 26, two days after Intel had teamed up with Oracle to announce joint cloud initiatives at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco. The pair's definition of cloud computing was this: "The cloud infrastructure is an abstracted, fabric-based infrastructure that enables dynamic movement, growth and protection of services that are billed based on usage." And they added a tagline: "In the cloud, bits, bytes, and cycles are transparent."

But what about virtualization? Slide four out of the 11 in Smith and Pieravi's presentation cites three stages of virtualization, with it implicit that getting through stages one and two is a prerequisite to cloud computing. Stage one is server consolidation through virtualization in the data center, along with virtualization of software development and testing. This stage already has taken place at many enterprises, and Smith and Pieravi say in 2008 we entered stage two, where implementation of virtualization leads to flexible resource management, juggling virtual machine operation through the day for dynamic load balancing, high availability, and disaster recovery.

Stage three will begin in 2012, and according to slide nine, will take advantage of the virtualization skills gained in stages one and two. By knowing how to build and store virtual machines or design them from templates, IT managers will build virtual machines and send them over the wire to run in the cloud. The cloud might be either inside or outside the enterprise, it doesn't matter, as long as the application and its operating system arrives in the correct virtual machine format for the target cloud.

In other words, VMware's Life Cycle Manager and VMotion, Vizioncore's VConverter, Fortisphere's Virtual Essentials, and other tools for generating, converting, and moving virtual machines around are the precursors to exporting virtual machines into the cloud. If you're the master of virtual machine management at home, the cloud will start to look like an extension of your own data center. If you're the master of virtualization at home, then you'll eventually master the cloud.

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