January 31, 2012, 4:54 PM — There's a dirty little secret about cloud computing – the hottest, most innovative, most status-quo-disrupting technology on the market today: There is no such thing.
Cloud computing isn't a technology, it's a metaphor.
Cloud computing in any form isn't a thing in itself, it's just really good virtualization.
Remember virtualization? Rather than putting just one OS/application combo on a server, you put on four, five, a dozen, then lie to the hardware about how much software it's running and convince each application it lives alone on one piece of hardware.
Improve that a bit and you can build a whole cluster of servers underneath the VMs as long as you're really, really careful about maintaining, extending and elaborating on the lies you've been telling your software.
With just the right set of extremely detailed technical falsehoods, one big application will believe it lives all alone on a whole cluster of servers which, depending on how the app itself it written, might allow this king of all apps to stretch itself across all the available hardware like a roomful of sports fans during the 12-hour Superbowl pre-game show.
It doesn't even matter if the whole cluster is in one place. A well-managed virtual-server infrastructure puts storage, servers and software in the most efficient place – both to keep its performance high and to keep it close enough to its users to deliver answers without extra latency caused by data having to stand in line on the WAN to get from the data center where its processers are to the one that holds its users.
Sound familiar? Like Cloud Computing Infrastructural Systems of Beauty?
Look more closely at the management tools coming out to allow customers to roll out cloud networks within their own companies while still being able to manage them just as if they were powerful but ordinary technologies rather than the miracle cure of 21st century IT.
VMware, Microsoft, Citrix, Red Hat and half the other OS and/or server companies out there are putting out management apps, cloud dashboards, cloud performance- and capacity-management tools that, when you get right down to it, are designed to do things that make virtual servers and other virtualized resources find and talk to each other more clearly.
"Cloud is obviously an evolutionary thing, but only if you can manage it and plan it so it runs the way you need it to," according to Lou Shipley, president and CEO of VMTurbo, which released a new version of its well-regarded Operations Manager cloud/virtualization workload management suite today.