One of the key definers of cloud computing is its elasticity and the ability to scale up access to computer capacity on demand. Private clouds by their very nature can’t do that as they have a finite scale – no organisation will fund an over-large private cloud just in case extra capacity is needed in the future.
To take full advantage of cloud computing’s promised elasticity enterprises have to be prepared to mix up private cloud with public cloud – dialling up capacity from the latter to deal with spikes of computer demand. This takes them into the realm of hybrid, and heterogeneous clouds using different computer systems and different standards.
Creating and managing hybrid clouds is not a simple task – often dependent on the creation of reams of scripts able to take applications running on one system and offload them to another cloud based platform. However a number of cloud orchestration tools have been developed which will automate much of that, which is leading to accelerated demand for public cloud infrastructure as a service.
According to technology analyst Gartner infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the fastest-growing segment of the public cloud services market and is expected to grow 45.4 percent in 2012 to $US6.2 billion. By 2016 the market for cloud infrastructure as a service is expected to equal the market for software as a service.
According to Gartner; “By 2015 nearly 5 percent of all virtual machines will run on external cloud IaaS. IT operations should transform itself into a "trusted service broker" able to work with the business to identify and procure cloud computing services — private, public and hybrid — to match various business requirements.”
Tools such as CloudStack and OpenStack are already available to allow the construction of hybrid heterogeneous clouds, and in August VMware unveiled its vCloud Suite 5.1 intended to help manage hybrid clouds. The company has followed that up today with the announcement at its VMworld conference in Barcelona of the vCloud automation centre 5.1 and an update of its IT business management suite – which will both be available in the final quarter of the year.