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Think Big. Move Fast.

by Ravi Mhatre, Lightspeed Venuter Partners

Lightspeed has invested across multiple enterprise infrastructure areas  including database virtualization (Delphix), datacenter and cloud infrastructure (AppDynamics, Mulesoft, Optier) and storage virtualization (Fusion I/O, Pliant, Nimble).

This year we wanted to profile several important trends that we see emerging for Cloud Computing in 2010:
1. Enterprises move beyond experimentation with the cloud. Enterprises will start to deploy production cloud stacks with thousands of simultaneous VMs. They will increasingly be used as a resource for both pre-production and production workloads.  CIOs and IT managers will test the benefits of creating and managing internal, elastic virtual datacenters – self-service, automated infrastructure with integrated and variable chargeback and billing capabilities, all built on commodity hardware.

2.  Management software to deal with scaled cloud environments  moves to the forefront. As infrastructure environments become increasingly dynamic and virtualized, the “virtual datacenter” or VDC will emerge as the new enterprise compute platform.  New management platforms must be developed to apply policy and automation across thousands of transient servers,  fluid underlying storage and networking resource pools, and variable workloads which often need to be dynamically migrated from one part of the VDC to another. Without new management tools, enterprises will fall short in their ability to achieve true “cloud economics” in their cloud environments.


3. Enterprise policy for dealing with public clouds starts to emerge.
To counter the security and financial concerns around internal developers using public cloud providers such as Amazon on an ad hoc basis, CIOs and CFOs will start to craft their enterprises’ public cloud policies and centralize purchasing and procurement.  Larger enterprises, due to security or compliance restrictions may initially prioritize internal private cloud development to recognize the benefits of cloud computing without compromising their data.

4. Public Clouds; “Its not just about Amazon”. Other mid and large-sized vendors (i.e. Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace, AT&T, Verizon, and others) continue to gain share in this rapidly growing market and 3′d party software matures which enables tier-2 and tier-3 service providers to get into the game of providing cloud services as a complement to traditional web and server hosting. EC2 becomes the commodity service offering as higher-end providers seek to differentiate their cloud offerings with SLA-based premium services and better management capabilities.

5. VMware has to rethink its business model. As Hyper-V,Xen and KVM continue to commoditize the hypervisor and gain enterprise market share,  cloud computing starts to encroach on traditional  ESX/vSphere use cases for application and server consolidation.   Value continues to move up the stack into integrated management features and scale-out application support. To counter enterprise adoption of other hypervisor and cloud over-lay platforms, VMware will be forced to adjust pricing and licensing models to account for scale-out cloud deployments on top of hundreds or thousands of commodity servers.

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