Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Rajeev Kozhikkattuthodi

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Five Key Challenges of Enterprise Cloud Computing

I have talked to a lot of people in the cloud computing and virtualization space

In the past month or so I have talked to a lot of people in the cloud computing and virtualization space. Many of these folks are working at/on startups that solves one of the many challenges for Enterprise cloud computing. What are these challenges? I have tried to summarize them here (in no particular order).

Data Governance

I’ve written extensively about the need for data governance in previous posts. In essence, enterprises have a ton of sensitive data that requires access monitoring and protection. Data (and information generated from the data) is the life blood of many enterprises, the loss of control will not be acceptable. Whole markets (read: DLP) are created to protect the enterprise data and information. On top of all that, enterprises must comply with many of the regulations that require data governance. By moving the data into the cloud, enterprise, for now, will lose some capabilities to govern their own data set. They would have to rely on the service providers to guarantee the safety of their data.

I hate to invoke the ILM acronym but much of data governance is about

  • Creation and Receipt
  • Distribution
  • Use
  • Maintenance
  • Disposition

So who’s tackling this problem? As far as I know, nobody is and nobody really can except for the service providers themselves. It is really up to the service providers such as Amazon, Google and Salesforce to provide guarantees that customer data are safe and access to data are restricted and protected.

Manageability

There are some great IaaS/PaaS out there, including Amazon’s web services (S3, EC2, EBS, etc), Google’s App Engine, Salesforce’s Force.com, Joyent, etc. However, most of these are raw infrastructures and platforms that do not have great management capabilities. This is not unusual. Throughout computing history, raw capabilities will generally appear on the market first, then management of these raw capabilities become a differentiator when competition heats up. Just look at the blade server and virtualization spaces as these are great examples of that trend. The hypervisor was the key technology that enabled enterprise virtualization; however, that piece is now being given away (see VMware’s ESXi) and management capabilities becomes the main differentiator.

Cloud computing is no different. An example of missing management capabilities for cloud infrastructures is auto-scaling. Amazon EC2 claims to be elastic; however, it really means that it has the potential to be elastic. Amazon EC2 will not automatically scale your application as your server becomes heavily loaded. It is still up to the developer to manage that scalability problem.

So who’s tackling this problem? Many startups have recognized the need for management early on and have built management capabilities on top of the existing cloud infrastructure/platforms. RightScale is one of the early pioneers in this space. Their solution solves many of the management issues such as auto-scaling and load balancing.

Monitoring

Monitoring, whether is for performance or availability, is critical to any IT shop. We are not talking about just how much CPU or memory the machines are using. We are talking about performance of transactions and disk IO and others. CPU and memory usage are misleading most of the time in virtual environments. The only real measurement is how long your transactions are taking and how much latency there are. According to High Availability’s article on latency:

Amazon found every 100ms of latency cost them 1% in sales. Google found an extra .5 seconds in search page generation time dropped traffic by 20%. A broker could lose $4 million in revenues per millisecond if their electronic trading platform is 5 milliseconds behind the competition.

So who’s tackling this problem? Hypernic’s CloudStatus is one of the first to recognize this issue and developed a solution for it. They started with monitoring of Amazon’s web services, then recently added monitoring for Google App Engine. In addition, RightScale’s solution can also provide monitoring for the virtual machines under their management.

Reliability and Availability

I won’t beat the dead “Gmail down, EC2 down, etc down” horse here. But the truth of the matter is enterprises today cannot reasonably rely on the cloud infrastructures/platforms to run their business. There’s almost no SLAs provided by the cloud providers today. Even Jeff Barr from Amazon said that AWS only provides SLA for their S3 service. I haven’t researched the SLA issue so not sure how true that is. But if it’s true, I think this will be one of the biggest factor, if not the biggest factor, in enterprise adoption. Can you imagine enterprises signing up cloud computing contracts without SLAs clearly defined? It’s like going to host their business critical infrastructure in a data center that doesn’t have clearly defined SLA.

We all know that SLAs really doesn’t buy you much. In most cases, enterprises get refunded for the amount of time that the network was down. No SLA will cover business loss. However, as one of the CSOs I met said, it’s about risk transfer. As long as there’s a defined SLA on paper, when the network/site goes down, they can go after somebody. If there’s no SLA, it will be the CIO/CSO’s head that’s on the chopping block.

So who’s tackling this problem? Well, again, no one is today as far as I know. Maybe some startup will come up with clever idea to provide SLA as a third party vendor (read: cloud insurance.) Or maybe the cloud providers will grow/wake up and actually do something to encourage the enterprise adoption.

Virtualization Security

Security is a huge area that encompasses many different things, including the standard enterprise security policies on access control, activity monitoring, patch management, etc. On top of that, virtualization security is something that most enterprises are just starting to grasp but don’t fully understand. Many IT people still believe that the hypervisor and virtual machines are safe. Recent presentations from Blackhat has demonstrate that we shouldn’t sleep so tight at night. As IT shops get more educated on the virtualization security issues, it will become one of the factors they will consider when they move into the cloud. Access control and monitoring of the virtual infrastructure will be on top of their mind.

So who’s tackling this problem? There are quite a few startups like Reflex, Blue Lane and Catbird that are creating privileged VAs that claim to protect the VAs running on VMware’s ESX servers. However, ensure you do your research on the performance of these solutions first before adopting one of them. Other startups (unnamed) are creating interesting solutions in protecting the actual virtual infrastructure themselves, e.g., how do you protect and monitor access to the ESX servers? how do you control and monitor the movement of virtual machines using live migration or VMotion.

Cloud computing is here to stay. It will be the next big wave and will be adopted by enterprises. However, the industry as a whole needs to answer some of these challenges and ease the enterprises’ concerns.

More Stories By Jian Zhen

Jian Zhen, CISM, CISSP, is the Director of Cloud Solutions at VMware. He is responsible for working with the world’s largest service providers to design cloud infrastructures and platforms, and creating partner ecosystems for the clouds. Previously, he was the VP of Emerging Technologies at LogLogic, the log management and intelligence leader in San Jose, Calif. At LogLogic, he was responsible for the overall vision and strategy of LogLogic’s product lines. Prior to joining LogLogic, he was responsible for developing the Managed Security Services infrastructure for Exodus/Savvis. During his 12+ years career in the information security field, he has performed audits for many Fortune 1000 companies as an IT auditor with Ernst & Young and Charles Schwab. In his spare time, Jian also writes a variety of topics covering cloud computing, IT security, intellectual property protection, and managed services. You can also find him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
jeffhardy 11/24/08 11:54:12 AM EST

Separating Cloud Computing Fact and Fiction

In November I presented a session at PubCon regardint Cloud Computing. Mike Culver from Amazon sat on the panel with me. My goal was to cut through the hype and buzz talk and to articulate the real potential benefits and debunk false claims. I got a lot of feedback. So much so that I wrote a follow up article:
http://www.smartertools.com/blog/archive/2008/11/20/cloud-computing-chal...

It is important that we remember what Cloud Computing is and what it is not.

Be well,
Jeffrey J. Hardy
http://www.smartertools.com

kmunse 09/02/08 01:05:10 PM EDT

Joyent is tackling the problems you have listed above. In terms of security, ease-ability of not having to rewrite apps, availability, flexibility, and manageability, Joyent has been able to achieve their goals of delivering a cloud that addresses the needs and concerns of both small developers and large enterprise CIOs.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...