A second challenge grows out of that virtualization difference. If an organization's vision is that applications should be able to be deployed in either a public or private cloud environment (and that should be the vision), how can the organization achieve that? While there are virtual image import products and services, this is not satisfactory as a long-term solution. Applications are long-lived and life-cycle management is crucial. Bit conversion of virtual machines is a one-time event, while application release is an ongoing process.
Clearly, a solution based on taking a VMware image and running it through a conversion process is inadequate. The solution must be capable of taking software components and creating an appropriate image for any target environment. The common approach of creating virtual machine templates does not support this solution.
A third challenge reflects the facts of life for business units. One of the main reasons to use cloud computing is to support the need to more rapidly update applications. As business initiatives increasingly move to online offerings, the need to modify applications quickly to reflect offering updates, campaigns, new partnerships and other initiatives becomes crucial. The pace of application versioning must be much quicker than in the past and must support deployment choice.
Quite a set of challenges, no? Next week, I'll offer some guidelines for addressing them. As a sneak peek, don't be surprised if those guidelines include the term "DevOps."
Bernard Golden is the vice president of Enterprise Solutions for enStratus Networks, a cloud management software company. He is the author of three books on virtualization and cloud computing, including Virtualization for Dummies. Follow Bernard Golden on Twitter @bernardgolden. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline
Read more about virtualization in CIO's Virtualization Drilldown.