Inside The Firewall

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The following is an excerpt from the recently published SolidFire whitepaper, Beyond Test & Development: What virtualization can teach us about the next phase of cloud computing. This is the fourth post in a six part series that will be published each Monday. The whitepaper in its entirety can be found  here.

The x86 virtualization movement began and succeeded almost entirely within on-premise data centers that favored quick enterprise adoption. In contrast, public cloud adoption has gained success outside of the enterprise firewall through successful delivery of low-cost, on-demand compute and storage resources. There are many stories of application owners testing and deploying applications outside of the corporate firewall due to the nimbleness of on-demand cloud infrastructure.

But for many CIOs, data privacy, data residency, and compliance requirements will ensure that certain enterprise applications remain on premise for some time. This doesn’t mean the infrastructure hosting these applications will stay the same. In fact, due to the transparent nature of public cloud computing pricing, the cat is already out of the bag. Public cloud pricing transparency has set an aggressive standard that all IT departments will be benchmarked against, whether they like it or not. Today’s IT departments that depend on costly and complex legacy IT infrastructure will most certainly struggle to keep up.

In the most public use case of enterprise cloud computing to date, the Bechtel CIO, Geir Ramleth, took matters into his own hands. Unwilling to settle with the cost burden imposed by legacy infrastructure and absent SaaS, Ramleth challenged his IT department to benchmark against best-in-class cloud computing services.
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Summarizing how he and his team came to this decision at Bechtel, he remarked:

“We operate as a service provider to a set of customers that are our own [construction] projects. Until we can find business applications and SaaS models for our industry, we will have to do it ourselves, but we would like to operate with the same thinking and operating models as [SaaS providers] do.”

Unwilling to relinquish all of their most sensitive applications to the public cloud today, CIOs everywhere will want to figure out how to get cloud-like economics inside their firewalls. The most forward-thinking of the bunch, despite enterprise logos brandishing their front door, are running their IT departments like service providers. As part of this movement, for those applications not suited for public cloud, IT executives will undoubtedly look to incorporate cloud design principles into their on-premise IT strategies.

In our next post, slated for July 15th, we will conclude this blog series by looking at some of the gaps that need to be bridged in order for the market to advance beyond the early adopter use cases and the production application opportunity that lies in front of us.

-Dave Cahill, Director of Strategic Alliances

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