Why Virtualized Hybrid Clouds Won't Happen Any Time Soon

The architectural concept is compelling: Have sets of virtualized servers that exist in your data center, with the ability to move virtual machines dynamically between your data center and a public cloud provider -- in other words, a virtualized hybrid cloud.

What's so compelling is that you can load balance between your private and public clouds at the VM level, moving virtual machines between on-premise and public cloud servers, running them where they will be most effective and efficient. Perhaps you can even use an auto-balancing mechanism, and dynamic management allows a system to pick the location of the VMs based on cost and SLA information. Why would you not want one of those?

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However, I'm not sure those who drive existing virtualization technology understand the value here. Perhaps it's even counterproductive to their business model. In short, to make a virtualized private cloud possible, cloud vendors would have to provide a mechanism that allows virtual machines to be executed outside of their technology, so their license revenue would surely take a hit. Moreover, as time goes on, public clouds will provide the most cost-effective platform for these VMs, and support for the virtual hybrid cloud would offer customers a quick migration path.

Thus, the movement made in this direction by vendors will have the core purpose of selling virtualization technology, not expanding provider choice.

Regardless, it will be interesting to see how virtualization vendors roll out this technology. I suspect fees will be levied on public cloud providers, who will pass them to the public clouds' users. The public cloud option would become much less viable.

The conundrum is enterprises want to leverage this technology via VM-level dynamic migration between private and public clouds. Providing a dynamic mechanism to move virtual machines around public and private server instances removes a lot of barriers around cloud computing, such as lock-in, security, governance, cost, and performance.

Unfortunately, there are no good incentives to push the virtualization vendors in the true and open virtualized hybrid cloud direction. There are solutions emerging, but it's going to be a while before we have a usable option.

This article, "Why virtualized hybrid clouds won't happen soon," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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