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Forrester sees two compute clouds

Compute Cloud offerings can be broken down into two types, says Frank Gillett, vice president and principal analyst, Forrester Research.

Defining the two types of Cloud offerings for attendees of a Webcast this week, the Forrester analyst said the first focuses on the software platform as a service. Users of this type of Cloud service don’t need to worry about the hardware, virtual machines, or operating systems.

The second type of Cloud is “the virtual infrastructure as a service market,” Gillett said.

That market offers the customer full control of virtual machines as well as the virtual local area networks, configurations, storage, and file systems, he said. However, the customer is abstracted from the “physical layer.” The customer does not need to be concerned with hardware or where the data center is located. The Cloud provider takes care of that and agrees that will maintain specified levels of capability and uptime.

Selecting the best Cloud service for an organization requires an assessment of needs based on how abstracted developers and IT operations want to be from the infrastructure that supports their software applications.

“If you are thinking about having someone work with a Cloud service,” Gillett said, “what you are looking for is a match between the needs to the developers or the IT Ops folks that are involved, and the level of abstraction that the Cloud service provides.”

To help in selecting that best Cloud service for an organization, the Forrester analyst offered a list of characteristics to check for when evaluating Cloud providers.

Is the Cloud offering:

  • Standardized IT-based capabilities?
  • Accessible via Internet protocols from any computer?
  • Always available and automatically scaleable to meet demand?
  • Pay-per-use or advertising-based?
  • Utilizing Web or programmatic APIs?
  • Providing full customer service?

“Finally,” he concluded, “when you are talking about Cloud, check on which of these attributes apply. Figure out which ones match up to what you’re thinking about to determine which parts of the Cloud you want to sign up for.”

The entire Webcast sponsored by rPath, can be accessed from the SearchVMware Multimedia Library.

Billy Marshall, chief strategy officer for rPath and moderator of the Webcast, offered his views on cost savings from Cloud computing in an interview with SearchSOA this week.

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