The Genesis of Connectloud

Written by Zeeshan Naseh

Flexibility. Operational cost savings. Averted capital expenditures. On-demand scalability. The reasons for moving information technology to the cloud are compelling.

How compelling? Enough that one study on enterprise cloud computing found 75 percent of firms worldwide using some type of cloud platform. Forrester analyst Lauren Nelson, new research indicates 55 percent of North American and European companies “plan to prioritize building an internal private cloud, and 33 percent already have adopted private cloud.”

Indeed, the mad rush to the cloud makes it appear that building your own cloud stack is a piece of cake. Not so, at least not to date, and especially for the uninitiated.

Nelson noted recently that, in reality, only about 13 percent of organizations that say they have a private cloud actually do. In many cases, those “clouds” lack key characteristics such as multi-tenancy and end-user self-service.

Hurdles to the Private Cloud

Indeed, companies that want to go this private cloud route must overcome a number of hurdles. During my time at Cisco Systems deploying Cloud services globally for Fortune 100 companies and Tier 1 service providers, the three main problems I noticed were:

  • Expense: Private clouds can be expensive, largely because of the engineering costs involved in setting them up. Your IT team will probably have a learning curve to get over, and that takes time. Setting up a cloud might take your enterprise months – time you might not have to spend. You also have to buy your own equipment for networking, storage and CPU processing instead of outsourcing it (as you would in a public cloud.)

  • Time: As noted above, setting up your own private cloud can take six months or even longer. Scaling up takes time you probably don’t have when working to meet market demands. Then there’s the downtime. Reconfiguring on the fly might mean tearing down servers and other infrastructure, and that means key software applications will be offline. That can be hugely expensive.

  • Vendor Lock-in: To enterprises, the problem of vendor lock-in with software is as old as the hills, and it exists in cloud computing, too. Lock-in occurs when an enterprise becomes too reliant on a single vendor for too many solutions. In such a case, the rising costs of leaving that vendor – for whatever reason – create de facto entrapment. With the rise of cloud computing, the large enterprise vendors have all developed or acquired bolt-on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solutions. Before diving in, beware lock-in. You might think it doesn’t exist just because the solution in question is referred to as open source software. But legacy vendors can limit your independence through a combination of factors that make you dependent. One way to get locked in is, for example, to use tools that recognize only VMware or Amazon Web Service virtual machines. Engaging these proprietary formats can be as difficult to escape as quicksand.

Connectloud is a New Day for Private Cloud

As an example, one of my projects at a former employer was a $50 million engagement for a Tier 1 service provider that was developing a private Cloud infrastructure. My team delivered it within six months – an industry record – but it got me thinking: What are some ways we can do it better, faster and cheaper? Thus, Connectloud was born.

Analysts with both Forrester and Gartner have noted that the enterprise market is poised to embrace an emerging class of innovation labeled a Cloud Management Platform. In a perfect world, these solutions would provide instant standup of open-source, secure private clouds. Clouds could be scaled up and down quickly and easily as needed via an intuitive, on-demand web portal.

To date, analysts say, no vendors have emerged to provide the complete package. Stay tuned here for details about how Connectloud plans to provide that complete package – and more.