In a typical discussion of cloud computing, the question inevitably arises: “what is cloud anyway?” Not too surprising, considering the fact that the term is hurled around on billboards, television, and everything in between. “The Cloud” comprehension varies for a simple reason — there are different types of cloud computing that cover a wide range of uses.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology took the initiative to provide recommended definitions of cloud computing models. They’re probably not perfect, but it looks like the industry is starting to converge around this de facto standard. You might be surprised to learn that the U.S. government could even produce a document like this, let alone have it consist of a mere three pages! Download Special Publication 800-145, NIST Definition of Cloud Computing, September 2011 and see for yourself.
Since you’re reading this article, you are probably clear on public cloud versus private cloud and Infrastructure-as-a-Service compared to Platform-as-a-Service. But have you considered what qualifies as a hybrid cloud? Microsoft has generously proclaimed that System Center 2012 enables “a hybrid cloud you can manage from a single pane of glass.” A quick check of the facts tells a different story.
The truth is, System Center 2012 doesn’t offer capabilities that match the NIST definition of hybrid cloud:
Hybrid cloud. The cloud infrastructure is a composition of two or more distinct cloud infrastructures (private, community, or public) that remain unique entities, but are bound together by standardized or proprietary technology that enables data and application portability (e.g., cloud bursting for load balancing between clouds).
When it comes to hybrid cloud, System Center 2012 App Controller is two half-solutions in one. The product is a web interface that allows provisioning PaaS applications to the Azure public cloud or IaaS service templates to a Virtual Machine Manager private cloud. No mixing and matching — IaaS private cloud workloads cannot be moved to the public cloud and vice-versa. Remember that the next time you hear Microsoft talking hybrid cloud.
But there is a cloud computing leader with true hybrid cloud computing solutions today: VMware. Thanks to the large ecosystem of VMware vCloud providers, customers can integrate one or more public clouds with a vSphere/vCloud Director private cloud for true hybrid cloud computing. And one more thing: VMware has offered this capability for over a year already!
Trust VMware for all your cloud computing needs: private, public, and true hybrid.