Musing: Private Clouds is Next. VMware and Nicira is about that.

I’ve posted a longer piece at Network Computing that outlines most of my thoughts about VMware/Nicira – VMware Finally Gets a Network Strategy. Start there…..

Back ?

VMware is all about the private cloud. VMware has relied somewhat on Cisco to do the networking but it’s tough for Cisco competitors like Dell and HP to sell Nexus 1000V for VMware. Hence, buying Nicira helps to solve that problem.Is that important ? I don’t think it’s the only reason they bought Nicira but it’s probably a part of it. Other reasons such as network configuration toolset that can be integrated with vCenter, viable software switch, people that introduce technologies to change network marketplace are all important too and covered best by Brad Casemore’s Some Thoughts on VMware’s Strategic Acquisition of Nicira

It’s my personal suspicion that we might, finally,  be approaching the start of the Private Cloud era. The herald is probably Microsoft getting their Office 2013 cloud package off the ground. By the time big companies, and especially Microsoft arrive, you realise that the early and exciting phases of public cloud are over.

Customers will likely shift their focus back to the Private Cloud which they have been building for the last few years (a false start if you will). Don’t get me wrong, the Public Cloud still has a lot of growth for a while yet but largely it will be repetitive and mostly boring. Expects lots of “me too” and “tweaked the gizmo” announcements, another outage in an earthquake zone etc.

Two things about the Public Cloud that I think are important.

One: Public clouds are using a lot of white box hardware and open source software for the most part to avoid spending capital (and because their business income is unpredictable). Major vendors make some money but not enough to really count so vendors aren’t investing heavily in features for those solutions.

Two: Private clouds are where most of Enterprise and Corporate dollars are going. The momentum, started by VMware and the ESX hypervisor, is now got a full head of steam. Microsoft’s Hyper-V is doing OK and Citrix Xen is also working well. The networking vendors see this as much more viable market.

The Private Cloud needs better network automation to support much more demanding requirements of our legacy applications. Public clouds can’t easily handle our twenty year old business app, or MS Exchange 2003, or that Windows NT4 server that still does something useful.

Finally, career choices ? Public clouds employ very few people relative to their size. And their networking skills are very specific to each business which I regard as career limiting. Having niche skills is sure way to career dead end in IT infrastructure. Private clouds is the career move that you should probably be considering.

Just some thoughts. I have no idea if they are right, lets get popcorn and find out.