7 April 2011

Clash of the titans

The first day of NetEvents' Asia Pacific press summit in Langkawi, Malaysia, saw a clash of ideologies, as four major vendors went head-to-head over next generation datacentres, with the audience voting for the most convincing vendor.

At issue was the right approach to supplying datacentres with infrastructure for the cloud. One on one side sat Cisco and HP, both of which have developed a unified datacentre infrastructure that includes server, networking, storage and support, and on the other sat storage vendor Brocade and networking vendor Alcatel-Lucent.

Moderating the debate was analyst Tim Dillon, AVP Research at IDC. Dillon opened by noting that the priorities for enterprise CIOs are to take out costs, align IT to the business, and manage risks. He said that businesses look at IT assets on basis of business not technology and that, increasingly, the CFO takes decisions relating to game-changing technologies such as virtualisation, not the CIO.

The four vendors then each made a short opening pitch, starting with Rotem Salomonovitch, CTO IP Solutions at Alcatel-Lucent. He said the question needed to be asked whether network infrastructures are ready for the cloud, and that the cloud was about the enterprise moving to a carrier world and "shifting their stuff into the cloud". It was about extending the network into the datacentre, he said.

John McHugh, chief marketing officer for Brocade was next. He said there was "no such thing as a single vendor datacentre". The datacentre needs to be open and multi-vendor, that it supports the utilisation of millions of dollars of investment in equipment, and needs to simplify the deployment of business applications. "And it must be non-stop," he said.

Bernie Trudel, Cisco's Cloud CTO spoke next. He said that the goal was a single architecture focused on IT service agility via innovation. "It's about an open interoperable architecture," he said. Cisco shows innovation on the supply and demand side, with cloud services on the supply side, and the process of how IT buys services on the demand side, he said.

Steve Dietch, speaking on behalf of HP as the company's VP cloud infrastructure, said that datacentres are expensive, siloed, and complex. "Eighty percent of cost is just keeping the lights on," he said. "We want to converge those services -- servers, network, power and cooling, facilities management -- and we are only vendor that can do this with our own intellectual property," he said. HP is still open with customer choice and orchestration and application lifecycle management plus security as priorities, Dietch said.

The audience, consisting of press, analysts and vendors, was then asked to vote on which pitch was best. Brocade's McHugh topped the poll; vendors did not vote.

The four vendors then discussed how enterprises could best improve their datacentres.

McHugh said: "Datacentre managers are having problems with the complexity of managing the virtualised, orchestrated infrastructure -- it's overwhelming their staff. They want it but they need to get opex costs out."

Salomonovitch said: The business group worries about how to make money in cloud, but techies have the problem of implementing it."

Bernie Trudel said: "We put together architectures that work and have the testing evidence and support. It keeps customers' options open because we use different partners."

Dietch said: "We are heterogeneous and open. We will swap any component of our converged infrastructure out if the customer wants it. We are converged so you only have a single vendor to talk to. Partnerships mean vendors break rank and talk about their own interests."

McHugh said: "Customers are looking for turnkey solutions but that's temporary. Ultimately, people want simplified deployment, and they want best of breed."

He added that IT people who focus on the technology not the information rather than the value to the organisation had the most to lose in the new cloud market.

Asked if enterprises would have to re-tool their networks, Salomonovitch said: "Service providers have been transforming their networks into converged infrastructures over the last seven years. The next transformation is to flatten the network and pay attention to mobility, and multiple layers of storage and connectivity."

Asked about how enterprises get to the virtualised future, Trudel said: "We show them how they can do it themselves. Not all applications will go to the cloud but there's a lot of low hanging fruit."

Then the panel agreed that security was the biggest problem for the cloud.


us vpn said...

I hope that they resolve the problem regarding security on their cloud.

MisYahd said...

The question needed to be asked whether network infrastructures are ready for the cloud, and that the cloud was about the enterprise moving to a carrier world and "shifting their stuff into the cloud".
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