2011: When Cloud Computing Shook the Data Center

In a year of surging private cloud activity and major build-outs in public cloud capacity, the cloud's promised simplification remains elusive

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If I had to sum up in one word the most exciting thing that happened to cloud computing in 2011, I'd have to say it's OpenStack. This open source project, launched by Rackspace and NASA in late 2010, is assembling a private cloud "operating system" for the data center that promises vast increases in operational efficiency. The momentum behind it is phenomenal; at last count, 144 companies back the project, including Cisco, Citrix, Dell, HP, and Intel.
But at the same time, the public cloud is surging -- and not just Amazon and Salesforce, though those two remain the largest public cloud service providers. The telcos (notably Verizon) are gearing up to deliver IaaS (infrastructure as a service) at a larger scale than ever before. Microsoft, HP, and others are also building out huge public cloud capacities.

On the one hand, with OpenStack, we have a vibrant, fast-growing open source project for creating private clouds, flanked by VMware, which offers a proprietary portfolio of private cloud software. On the other hand, we have an increasing number of businesses seriously asking, "Do I really want to run my own data center?" For those that don't, the public cloud is getting more attractive all the time.

Going Public
During a recent visit to InfoWorld, Kerry Bailey, president of Terremark (now chief marketing officer for Verizon Enterprise Solutions), was exceptionally bullish in his predictions for public cloud growth. Acquired earlier this year by Verizon, Terremark operates a public cloud IaaS play that's 100-percent VMware -- the enterprise virtualization vendor of choice.
Bailey says Terremark has seen 178 percent growth in its cloud business from 2010 to 2011, with current revenues in the hundreds of millions. He also says that the No. 1 objection to the public cloud, security, has been replaced by performance -- which Terremark has addressed with proximity. According to Bailey, Terremark now has a physical presence "in all the NFL cities" in the United States. And thanks to Verizon, managed routing services enable "direct access to the backbones of the world's leading carriers" to ensure high quality of service.

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