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Private Clouds and the "Google-ization" of the Datacenter

One of the most interesting articles I've read in the last year is a Network World piece about how Bechtel is "Google-izing" it's IT infrastructure.

If you read the article, you learn quickly that what drove Bechtel CIO Geir Ramleth to mimic Google, and other companies like Salesforce.com and Amazon, was nothing more complicated than a desire to deliver more flexible services to end...

One of the most interesting articles I've read in the last year is a Network World piece about how Bechtel is "Google-izing" it's IT infrastructure.

If you read the article, you learn quickly that what drove Bechtel CIO Geir Ramleth to mimic Google, and other companies like Salesforce.com and Amazon, was nothing more complicated than a desire to deliver more flexible services to end users for less money.

His key insight, however, was that his IT organization was really not that different from a SaaS application vendor trying to satisfy its customers. Once that revelation stuck, the company began migrating systems so that they would be simple to operate over the web. They started utilizing commodity hardware, and open source software, and buying networking capacity in bulk.

The other amazing realization you get from the article is how much more money typical IT operations spend on core functions than web companies. Take a look at this graphic Network World created to compare storage, administration, networking and software costs between Bechtel and leading web companies.

All of this underlines the opportunity private computing clouds present to the enterprise. And yet, if companies try to "Google-ize" in the same way they have done every other IT transformation project, namely by hiring a big consultancy to suggest they buy Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, EMC, IBM and CA software, then they will just end up with a refresh of what they already have.

Given that, I would suggest four keys for any CIO interested in building a private computing cloud that can match the cost & performance of web companies:

1. Build on only commodity storage, networking and servers.
2. Talk to both big IT consulting companies and specialists.
3. Utilize open source software everywhere you can.
4. Architect security into every layer of the system.

Over time, people will make great cases for outsourcing different parts of the infrastructure, applications and administration. But for now, I think the first step to "Google-ization" is to build a small, commodity cloud inside your firewall and see what applications are well suited for that environment.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009 - 17:29
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Open@Citrix

Citrix supports the open source community via developer support and evangeslism. We have a number of developers and evangelists that participate actively in the open source community in Apache Cloudstack, OpenDaylight, Xen Project and XenServer. We also conduct educational activities via the Build A Cloud events held all over the world. 

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