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The maturity model for cloud computing - 2009, the year of automation

Posted on Tuesday, December 23, 2008 | 5 Comments

James Urquhart over at cnet in the Wisdom of Clouds blog has an interesting post about "A maturity model for cloud computing".

The post is worth a quick read, it lists five high level steps, to quote:

At a very high level, each step of the model breaks down like this:
Consolidation is achieved as data centers discover ways to reduce redundancy and wasted space and equipment by measured planning of both architecture (including facilities allocation and design) and process.
Abstraction occurs when data centers decouple the workloads and payloads of their data center infrastructure from the physical infrastructure itself, and manage to the abstraction instead of the infrastructure.
Automation comes into play when data centers systematically remove manual labor requirements for run time operation of the data center.
Utility is the stage at which data centers introduce the concepts of self-service and metering.
Market is achieved when utilities can be brought together over over the Internet to create an open competitive marketplace for IT capabilities (an "Inter-cloud", so to speak).

James then goes on to detail out what organisations are doing in these area, where the opportunities lay, which is all good.

So what does this have to do with all those VMware customers out there? Why is this more important than a new name like vSphere? Well what struck me about this is how it sits with what I have been thinking about as important for 2009.

2009 is going, in my humble opinion, to be the year of automation for VMware/vSphere environments. If there is one thing thats worth investing in, its the automation areas of your virtual infrastructure.  Automation is often not tackled up front in the VMware lifecycle and it requires a certain level of maturation of virtualisation within the orgnaisation first.

Why automation? Many sites have started on the path of consolidation and abstraction, sure there is more to do in these areas, but this will be organic growth on the existing base. The industry/vendors will be running around releasing new versions, pushing clouds and all sorts of great things. Yet if you don't have your automation right these new paradigms may be difficult for you to adopt in late 2009 or early 2010. Automation takes time and investment, it will not occur overnight in your organisation. How can you package your application system into a vApp and describe is service characteristics if the only way to create that systems is days of manual installation and configuration?

Automation will also give good returns. In tight economic times automation can reduce TCO. Many of todays security risks and downtimes are caused by human error, not failing hardware, the more that can be automated, the more those up times can be increased.

Take a look at what VMware have done this year. They have released Site Recovery Manager, Stage Manager and Life Cycle Manager. They have new initiatives within the systems and life cycle management market with companies such as BMC, CA and HP. In 2009 we should see the release of the technology from the B-hive acquisition. It certainly looks like VMware themselves have been getting ready and we may see maturity and greater adoption of these offerings in 2009.

Do you see automation as a key initative for 2009? Leave your views in the comments section.



  1. Anonymous9:08 am

    I think you are right on the money with this. I have always been a big supporter of automation. Nice to hear from someone that thinks the same way!!!

  2. Anonymous9:20 am

    Howdy Rodney!

    You highlight the cost savings of automation and you are absolutely spot-on there. I also think that the rough economic seas ahead of us are going to drive companies towards automation. Smart admins know that in tough times, companies keep the most productive people so I think that is another thing that is going to drive people to adopt automation.

    While all those things are true - it would be wrong not to mention the other reason for automation - quality & reliability. If you DON'T automate something, what do you do? Answer - you do it by hand. THAT is variable, error prone and often unauditable.

    Jeffrey Snover [MSFT]
    Windows Management Partner Architect
    Visit the Windows PowerShell Team blog at: http://blogs.msdn.com/PowerShell
    Visit the Windows PowerShell ScriptCenter at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/scriptcenter/hubs/msh.mspx

  3. A related post on the increasing function and use of Powershell in VMware environments.

  4. Anonymous10:03 am

    Talking only about virtual environment management is a first step, but what is with the existing IT landscape ? Is Process automation a new term in the datacenters ?

    No, it is not. Process automation integration of real and virtual worlds should be the right way. VMware and other vendors creates tools for virtualization areas and this is still good.

    Is Backup, IT Housekeeping and Processes ( e.g. Month-End Closes ) only useful in the borders of the real or virtual world or should they be transparent to both worlds ?

    Powershell is one solution coming from MS and VMware with the VI Toolkit.

    Is it much better to integrate with the Virtual Center Server API and have the control about snapshots, Cloning, Migrating from a single point of view with no script ?


    Is it better to integrate Virtualization Automation in the existing RunBook of the datacenter ?


    Does it make sense to use the power of Provisioning in the virtual world to be dynamic and InTime in the process automation ?


    You´re absolutely right that Virtual Environment Management and Automation are hypes in 2009.

    Thanks for this article.

  5. Anonymous8:33 am

    I liked reading your thoughts as well as James. It will be interesting to watch the maturity of Cloud Computing as it takes shape. A post worth checking out is Is cloud computing like teenage sex?


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