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Of Interest: 2008 Predictions on Virtualized Hosting

January 10th, 2008 by - 9,931 views

There have been several articles and predictions written recently related to grid computing, virtualization and virtualized hosting, cloud computing and “green” hosting over the past few weeks. I have read through a number of these and thought that it might be of interested to highlight some that caught my attention. While by no means are these the de facto authorities of what will come, the commentaries do spark my interest and hopefully yours.

What is a Grid Server

In his article titled: “2007: The year in green,” Ted Sampson, senior analyst at InfoWorld, wrote:

Speaking of which, virtualization was the poster child of sustainable technology in 2007. Leveraging wares from the likes of VMware and XenSource, companies found they could reduce dramatically reduce the number of servers they needed to deliver their applications and services.

This rings true to me. Green computing is hot and will continue to be so. Companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint are well advised to start looking for alternatives to traditional server computing and hosting. The fact that one is now able to “virtualize” several servers on a smaller set of “noded” servers make this trend a hot one to watch.

Similarly, Jeff Kaplan, author of THINK IT Services mentions in his blog post called “Top Ten Reasons Why On-Demand Services Will Soar in 2008”:

2. Everyone’s Going Virtual: Most industry pundits and participants view virtualization as a technology trend, but it is also a business trend. Employees are increasingly working outside the four walls of a traditional office. Gen Y workers are always on the move and online. Traditional, on-premise applications and centralized servers sitting behind a firewall can’t effectively serve today’s mobile workers. SaaS and managed services are perfectly suited for these new, virtual business requirements.

3. Amazon, IBM and Google Bet on Utility Computing. After experimenting with its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) for the past year, Amazon has found plenty of demand for its computing power on-demand platform from startups, as well as established companies seeking a ‘sandbox’ for their new initiatives. Amazon is now confident it can deliver its computing power in a reliable and cost-effective fashion to a broader market of business users. So, expect more aggressive PR and marketing efforts to promote and sell this powerful utility computing service.

I thought it appropriate to comment on this post, given the direction of our Grid product lines and others from different providers. It is my belief that the combination of Virtualization and Cloud/Utility computing will give many companies more cost-effective and dynamic solutions to their hosting requirements. GoGrid and Grid Series are two of our products that can resolve the business dilemmas of how to rapidly deploy and scale vertically and horizontally, “green” and robust virtualized server and network environments.

Another article that I found of interest was that of Phil Wainewright who wrote “Eight reasons SaaS will surge in 2008” in ZDNet. Phil’s focus of this article was how SaaS (software-as-a-service) will become even more “pivotal” in 2008. Specific ideas that struck me as important:

Virtualization makes it easy to go SaaS. One of the factors making it much easier for independent software vendors (ISVs) to adopt SaaS is the emergence of virtualization technology. Late last year I described how people management vendor WorkStream uses VMWare, for example, and I reported on how some SaaS vendors are using Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing platform. There are many other examples out there, including Joyent’s astonishing giveaway of application hosting accounts to 3,500 Facebook developers. Virtualization will be a big factor this year in helping many ISVs, large and small, get their first experience of delivering software in a service model.

Do you see a common thread here, capitalized by the above blurb by Phil? Key to everything, in my opinion, is Grid and Virtualized hosting. (To understand what a Grid Server is, watch this Flash Guide.) For several years, I worked at a few ASP (Application Service Provider) companies that transformed/morphed into SaaS offerings. The buzzword “ASP” has been replaced as of recent with On-Demand Software and now Software-as-a-Service. With the “advent” of Web 2.0 companies, SaaS has grown and will be blooming in the years to come. If your SaaS offering takes off due to it being a quality product, being “Dugg” or getting a write-up on LifeHacker, TechCrunch or the likes, scalability does come in to play, and, as Phil says, virtualization helps to combat some of the pains associated with vertical/horizontal scaling.

Just some food for thought and discussion here. I would like to know of other articles or blog posts that people have found that are particularly compelling or insightful around this topic. Like these authors, I too think that it will be a big year for “the cloud” and “the grid.”

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Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan, formerly the Technology Evangelist for GoGrid, is a recognized technology, social media, and cloud computing pundit and blogger who writes regularly about technology news and trends.

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