Cloud computing may not be the most well understood enterprise technology, but it’s certainly getting the lion’s share of the attention. Seventy-two percent of attendees at IInterop New York, running Oct. 18-22 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center, currently use, plan to use, or are considering using private clouds, according to a pre-show survey, while 66% say the same about public clouds; 46% say cloud applications or initiatives are a priority for the coming year—that’s a 100 percent increase from a year ago.
Still, the myriad definitions of the cloud make it tricky to grasp the concept fully, and the challenge gets tougher as hybrid cloud applications make headway. That’s why "Deploying Your First Amazon Application" and Connecting Private and Public Clouds" are among the cloud computing sessions on the Interop agenda.
The session titles and content reflect the needs of business technologists to develop a deeper understanding of the evolving cloud environment, according to Interop planners.
Cloud computing is "a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided as a service to consumers using Internet technologies," according to Dave Cearley, a vice president and fellow at Gartner.
The major issue IT departments face when it comes to clouds is deciding how concerned to be with implementation details, Cearley says. That decision, he explains, drives the choice of private or public cloud to provide a particular service. But because the decision can vary based on function, application and application service, hybrid clouds will be the dominant deployment model for at least several years to come.
"The more you lean on open [public] clouds, the less you have to be concerned with implementation details," he adds. "The interesting points are those in between the two extremes."
"Packaged private clouds will be a trend," Cearley says, noting that Microsoft Azure is "one of the first of this new model."
Azure is a very public example of a cloud-application infrastructure designed to support private clouds, he explains. It promises strong security and data control yet allows business IT departments to put the requisite time into designing the architecture and implementing the applications they need.
The fact that parts of Azure are hosted in a Microsoft cloud makes it an intriguing platform in the middle of the public vs. private dichotomy, he says.
"Public cloud is the promise that raises lots of questions for IT," Cearley says. "Private may be the fall-back position, with ‘cloudwashing’ used to label things that might or might not be true clouds. In the middle will be the sweet spot in the future."