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Microsoft and VMware Talk Up 'Hybrid' Clouds

Microsoft is keeping comparatively tight-lipped about its new "Concero" cloud services management tool, which the company appears to be positioning very much in the hybrid cloud space to oversee both on-premises and cloud-based services. Due to reside in the System Center family of products, the company is expected to speak more volubly on this offering at this week's Microsoft Management Summit 2011 in Las Vegas.

The summit website describes Concero as follows, "The move to cloud based deployment of services will result in deployments which are partly on private on-premise clouds based on VMM and Hyper-V and partly on Windows Azure. In this hybrid world, it is imperative to have a management tool that allows customers to deploy and manage their services across these environments. System Center codename 'Concero' is a self-service portal targeted at this customer base."

Esteemed technology writer Mary-Jo Foley has noted on her ZDNet blog a conversation that she had recently with Microsoft Office division president Kurt DelBene on cloud infrastructures. She notes that DelBene has suggested that, "Microsoft's focus on both private and public clouds reflected how customers are moving to the cloud. They're doing it in a staged way, typically, keeping some assets on their own servers and testing the cloud infrastructure with other less mission-critical data."

Other vendors point out that hybrid cloud computing is a moveable feast, saying that the nature of a hybrid cloud will depend on the exact requirements of the overall solution. Hybrid clouds are easy to manage and can be very flexible, so they should not be thought of as a one-size-fits-all solution -- to do so would be a wasted business opportunity. What all hybrid clouds do have in common is the ability to marry the specific advantages of a traditional IT infrastructure made up of dedicated server hardware with a public or private cloud solution. Being able to take the flexibility, scalability and cost-effectiveness of a public cloud and combine that with the security and customization of dedicated hardware allows businesses to realize the true benefits of a hybrid cloud solution and grow without worrying about the costs and timescales of deploying additional hardware.

VMware is also vocal on this topic. As reported on Dr Dobb's last week, the company has this month begun a new strategy designed to simplify and automate how developers should manage services in dynamic virtual and cloud environments. VMware vCenter Operations aims to replace traditional management tools and processes, which were designed to handle discrete processes across static computing stacks and cannot keep pace with the velocity of new virtual environments.

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