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Seeking panelists for Virtualization and Private Cloud session

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I’m going to be moderating a panel for the virtual conference Cloud Lab ’10 (formerly known as Cloud Slam) the week of April 19.  The abstract of the talk is below.  If you would like to be a panelist, please leave me a comment and let me know who you are and why you want to be on the panel.  As you can see in the abstract, hoping to get a mix of investors, vendors, and end users.  Keep in mind this is a virtual conference, so everything will be done via teleconference and webex.

The path from Virtualization 1.0 to Private Cloud: Risks, challenges, and opportunities

Server virtualization has gained widespread acceptance, with most IT organizations obtaining a substantial 1st wave of savings and operational efficiencies. However, obtaining the next wave of savings and business agility is predicated on building internal (private) cloud capabilities. To be successfully deployed, these private cloud environments must be equipped with a new breed of automation tools and management processes that can scale without increasing operational cost and complexity.

In this panel, a group of experienced end users, vendors, and investors discuss the risks, challenges, and opportunities associated with moving from Virtualization 1.0 to Private Clouds. Attendees will walk away with actionable recommendations that they can apply in their move to the Private Cloud.

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Written by John Gannon

March 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

Is there a business in Physical to Cloud (P2C) conversions?

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I have been thinking about if there is a place for some cloud computing vendors to come on the scene to handle what I call the ‘P2C’ conversion process-taking a physical machine and converting it to an image that can run on a cloud.  If we look at the virtualization market, clearly P2V (physical to virtual) was an enabling technology that helped people migrate existing physical hosts into virtual machines, without having to completely rebuild systems from scratch.  VMware had a product in the space (and still does) and there was also some popular products provided by 3rd parties like Platespin (who had a nice exit to Novell for ~$200MM).

Do we have the potential for the same story in the cloud?

Well, what’s the same this time around?  You have huge existing deployments of physical machines and virtual machines, some of which IT managers would like to move the cloud, just as you had IT managers who wanted to consolidate physical hosts by converting them to VMs.

But what’s different?  As I understand it, most of the cloud deployments are Linux based, and you’ve got a series of tools (Puppet, Chef, and the like) that allow administrators to very easily deploy cookie-cutter system templates very quickly.  So, the cost of migrating an existing system may be much higher than simply rebuilding through one of these systems and migrating data.

Maybe small environments are the sweet spot for a P2C product.  They are unlikely to have invested time and effort into deploying a configuration management system like Chef or Puppet, but may still want to move their physical systems into a cloud environment.   There is a consultant I know who was recently asked if he could do exactly this for a customer’s small LAMP infrastructure.  This is just one data point but I have a hard time believing there wouldn’t be other SMBs willing to pay for this kind of service.

Is there anything like this out there today?  Agree or disagree with my thesis?   Is there a business here?

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Written by John Gannon

January 13, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Making system administration social

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Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

How can we make system administration more social (in the social networking sense)? And, more importantly, does anyone want to make it more social?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I’m using Twitter and participating in the community of VMware and cloud enthusiasts who are gathered there. There are loads of technical tips and tricks being shared on a daily basis and members of the community are supporting other members who have specific technical challenges. It is quite clearly valuable in building community among VMware users, the company and its users, as well as a practical way to get tips, tricks, and solutions to problems very quickly and in a ‘crowdsourced’ manner.

One way to make system administration more social would be to bake social networking features into the system administrators toolkit. Some examples of ‘social’ system administration products:

- Web browser plugin: Similar to what Zemanta does to recognize that you’re working on a blog post, one could build a plugin that sees you’re logging into the web interface of a management application (e.g. Rightscale) and create an overlay that provides relevant Twitter content and interaction capabilities.

- Plugins to extensible management systems: For example, VMware’s VCenter allows for 3rd party plugins. As far as I know, there is no technical reason why a plugin couldn’t be written to ntegrate with the Twitter API and/or specific RSS feeds.

- Open source monitoring with social extensions: Use an open source monitoring platform as a base, but make it highly social via a set of extensions, with hooks to Twitter, recommended blogs, etc.

Similar to a product like StockTwits, I’d imagine you’d also want to feed this highly curated, specific Twitter stream to a destination site which could hopefully drive additional user acquisition through SEO.

If you’re an IT manager or a system administrator, do you want your toolkit to be more social? Is anyone doing something like this today? Do sysadmins even want this, or are they content with a social networking experience that is disconnected from their day-to-day toolkit. Very curious to hear your thoughts.

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Written by John Gannon

December 29, 2009 at 8:23 pm


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