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First Internal Clouds Likely to Fail, Forrester Says

Jon Brodkin | March 3, 2011
The first internal clouds are likely to fail, but those failures will pave the way for future success, according to analyst firm Forrester.

FRAMINGHAM, 15 FEBRUARY 2011 - Forrester analysts have some less-than-encouraging news for IT shops building their first internal cloud networks: You're likely to fail.

But Forrester analysts insist "that's a good thing," because the failure will pave the way for later success.

"Most of these enterprises aren't ready for an internal cloud, but we expect that in 2011, I&O [infrastructure and operations] departments will start building them regardless. These efforts will most likely fail, but through this failure will come valuable experience and knowledge about what it really takes to create and operate a cloud environment," Forrester analysts James Staten and Lauren Nelson write in a new report called "2011 Top 10 IaaS Cloud Predictions for I&O Leaders."

Virtualization maturity, standardization, automation and infrastructure improvements are the key factors in building a successful internal cloud that can provide the types of infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities offered by the likes of Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, Forrester said.

"Most enterprises don't have the necessary virtualization maturity and aren't ready for the level of automation and standardization that a cloud environment requires," Forrester writes. "From an architectural perspective, cloud moves I&O away from silo-based architectures to a single pool of resources with two basic levels of priority -- a revolutionary concept and new challenge for I&O to manage. Management best practices will come from experience, and the sooner the better. Don't hold off on getting started just because your infrastructure isn't there yet."

That doesn't mean there aren't success stories, however. As previously reported by Network World, large enterprises such as Bechtel and First American Corp. have reported benefits from internal cloud projects.

There are also numerous software vendors offering automation tools to virtualize infrastructure and provide cloud-like capabilities -- for example, VMware (VMW), Red Hat, Platform Computing and the startup Nimbulafounded by the team that built Amazon EC2.

 

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