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Size Matters...in Computing Stacks

Combining components into one solution shows excellent benefits

In the aerospace industry, two huge product delays recently cost Airbus (A380) and Boeing (787) billions of dollars. The biggest issue faced were the challenges encountered in integrating products from a myriad of suppliers into one highly tested and reliable airplane. Components like landing gear, engines, fuel systems and fuselage sections have to work in sync with each other to ensure that the final product is reliable enough to carry hundreds of passengers on each flight.

So how does this example fit into cloud computing? As information technology is delivered as a service, it is imperative that the myriads of products used to build these services are delivered as an integrated and tested unit. One of the benefits of packaging is reliability and user experience of these tightly coupled tools. Information technology components are broadly broken up into networks, servers, storage, operating systems and middleware. Application software using these components is easier to build when the underlying components are tested and proven to deliver high value without the risks of delays as experienced by the aerospace industry.

Large vendors have recently been rapidly moving to expand their stack so that they can deliver a value proposition that is better than anyone else. This is being done through acquisitions, partnerships or expansion of their own products.

Some recent examples are:

Cisco: Portfolio expansion: Servers

HP: Acquisition: 3COM, 3PAR

Microsoft: Partnership: HP

IBM: Acquisition: Blade Network Technologies, Netezza

Oracle: Acquisition: Sun

VMWare: Acquisition: SpringSource

Security is high on the list of concerns for customers as they evaluate cloud computing technology. Not surprisingly, security seems to be becoming an increasingly important component of information technology delivered as a service. The acquisition of McAfee by Intel and ArcSight by HP indicate such a trend.

Vendors are racing to provide benefits of an integrated stack to their customers. Ideally the stack should consist of components all owned by one vendor and designed from the ground up to meet customers’ most pressing problems. Although customers are worried about vendor lock-in nobody can deny an integrated solution a place on the table when making platform decisions due to benefits they provide.

Look for top technology companies making interesting acquisitions and developing new partnerships to increase capabilities of their cloud computing component stack. Size matters!

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

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