#2 Virtualization Prediction: Storage replaces security as the no. 1 threat to private cloud adoption.

And the second prediPrediction #2ction for the New Year: Storage replaces security as the no. 1 threat to private cloud adoption.

Security vendors are fantastic at generating media coverage around threats that may or may not be real. (Who can forget 60 Minutes telling us that Conficker was going to bring down our national IT infrastructure on April 1, 2009?)

But with any hype-cycle comes that moment of clarity when enterprises take a step back, clear the smoke from the room, and see where the real opportunities and threats lie. For the last two years security companies have had their PR smoke-generators working overtime publicizing the potential perils of cloud computing, and how compromised hypervisors represent the greatest single source of risk to business since the advent of computing.

Obviously security is a serious issue when it comes to cloud computing. But it’s an issue that most experts agree can be effectively addressed by using a sensible, best-practices approach to security. In 2011 we will learn that the real threat to private cloud adoption is not compromised hypervisors; it is the massive storage costs and operational problems created by enterprises taking a hardware-vendor-specific mindset to cloud infrastructure.

Many enterprises today are bringing this outdated mindset to private cloud projects. And, it is far more dangerous than any potential security exploit, simply because it literally guarantees that their private cloud projects will never deliver the desired benefits or an acceptable return-on-investment. The whole point of cloud computing is to deliver cost-effective services to end-users – and that requires the highest degree of flexibility, openness, and portability. But taking a hardware-vendor-specific approach to storage runs directly counter to this and exposes enterprises to all the evils of vendor lock-in: a rigid infrastructure that simply cannot adapt with the business, and that is incredibly expensive to deploy, expand and upgrade.

One of our customers, Jeffrey Slapp, VP of Virtualization Services for Host.net, sums up the private cloud storage “aha moment” quite nicely:

“We chose VMware for server virtualization, DataCore for storage virtualization and Cisco for network virtualization in the core design of our vPDC platform because each vendor delivers the very best virtualization component in their respective areas of competence. Interestingly, we are finding that the demand for storage far outpaces the demand for individual virtual systems.”

Had Host.net taken a hardware-vendor-centric approach to storage, Slapp’s “interesting” observation about storage would have turned his cloud infrastructure into a money pit by now. But he avoided the problem by virtualizing the storage tier with DataCore technology, which frees Slapp and his team to maximize the use of existing infrastructure, and to expand and evolve his infrastructure using standard storage devices. The result: a fully virtualized private cloud infrastructure that fully delivers on its promise.

In 2011, we will see a large population of less-fortunate companies voice disappointment over their private cloud projects. Gartner calls this the “trough of disillusionment”. that unavoidable technological nadir that follows “the peak of inflated expectations” and precedes the “slope of enlightenment.” And when the hype smoke clears, people will see that security did not drive cloud computing into the trough. The real culprit is the far more dangerous hardware-vendor-centric mindset.

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