Post 1 of 6:  insert definition here – defining the cloud

If I had a dime for every time I found myself defining the “Cloud” I would have collected myself a small fortune. Okay, maybe not a fortune, but somewhere in the area of $70 (after taxes). But if I was required to use an identical definition each time…well, I’d be broke. This is because the Cloud has many different meanings, often depending on who’s asking. It is fairly understood what the ultimate goal of cloud computing is and it looks something like this: providing infrastructure as a service — from somewhere…anywhere…it doesn’t matter where — and delivering it seamlessly, using proven industry standards, across the ether to some (any) end node. Whether it be an application, operating or development environment, or a desktop, the idea is to provide some calculated level of compute capability to the downstream workloads or users who demand it…as they demand it.
Was that clear enough? I’m on month seven here at VMware and have been trying to wrap my mind around cloud computing at a massive scale. I have access to some of the most innovative people and technology in this arena and yet this is the best I can define the Cloud. But I’ll tell you that I’m probably right on. No matter who you ask, what you’re trying to accomplish, or how you plan on getting there, cloud computing will be defined as means of delivering x to y by doing z. Vague enough? I guarantee this sparks some sort of conversation which will help put all the pieces together. “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want!!”. Sure, it’s where everyone wants (or needs) to be these days. From IT personnel to CIO’s, end users to CEO’s, employees to customers — there’s something in it for everyone.
A comment I often get from people after a Cloud presentation is, “I can’t afford the transition to the Cloud”.  Eh, how can you afford NOT to make the move? There is so much to be gained and a comfortable path for everyone. Here’s where I’ve been trained to jump into an ROI/TCO discussion, but if you’re reading this blog then chances are you already understand these returns and business benefits (or don’t care). If not, I’ll be happy to send you the marketing materials. I’m gonna stick to the techie/geeky stuff for now.
We recognize 3 Cloud varieties at VMware: Private, Public, and Hybrid. Think of the Private Cloud as what your enterprise datacenter(s) would look like after a VMware vCloud tornado swept through…a virtualized infrastructure, aggregated resources, and an innovative user interface (UI) used to select and provision a library of applications through an automated workflow. Remember, infrastructure in this world is just a gigantic pool of aggregate compute, memory, storage, and network resources — we have graduated from old school stove-piped computing environments. Now, take this environment, deliver it externally to other business units, partners, customers, etc, and slap a means of charging/reporting for the use of these resources (more on this later) and you’ve essentially built a Public Cloud…and now you’re a cloud provider. Finally, provide a means of automagically expanding beyond your private cloud and physical boundaries to and from your public cloud — but only as those resources are needed, or during disasters, or whenever you feel like showing off — and you’ve got yourself a Hybrid.
For the sake of this blog and the several posts to follow, I would like to focus on the steps needed to successfully deploy a cloud of the Private variety and ways to get from a greenfield (brand-spanking new) or existing production infrastructure — hopefully virtualized by now — to delivering IT as a service (ITaaS). My goal for this inaugural series is to provide all the steps I think you need to get from zero to cloud in as little as 6 posts. This post doubles as 1 of 6  
In this Series:
1 – insert definition here – defining the cloud
2 – Getting Started – defining a success criteria

3 – Hardware!! – choosing your infrastructure 
4 – xBlock -designing a repeatable architecture 
5 – Delivering IT as a service with vCloud Director
6 – Get a Grip! – managing your cloud


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