Decouple an App From the OS Before You Move to the Cloud

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Greg O'Connor on Ulitzer

Three of the chattiest executives on God's green earth were struck suddenly speechless when the Q&A segment of their VCE coalition announcement produced a straight forward question from customer Joseph Hooks (at point 48:50 in the announcement).

Question: "Will we be able to seamlessly move (applications) between in-house vblocks (private clouds) and service provider vblocks (public clouds)?"

  • There was complete silence.
  • There were multiple fingers that swiftly and decisively pointed to Paul Maritz of VMware
  • There was silence.
  • There was nervous laughter from the audience
  • There was nervous laughter and jocular comments from the panel (Virtual Computing Environment coalition executives: Ciscos' John Chambers, EMC's Joe Tucci, and VMware's Paul Maritz.).
  • There was seat squirming and there were darting glances between the executives.
  • There was the ad hoc suggestion from Chambers, "We can start with the feet next -- We can do a chorus line here." (... the universal call for a tap dance)

In the end it was VMware's Paul Maritz who won the call to answer.


Greg O'Connor at the AppZero booth during 4th International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. The largest Cloud Expo to date attracted more than 2,200 delegates from over 47 countries.

Answer:  "The short answer is, that is exactly the goal.  A lot of pieces have to come together to make that happen.  It all depends on what you mean by ‘move seamlessly'."

He went on to mention issues such as management, moving workloads, security, and identity management concluding, "So we are tackling the issue of portability at every level.  And the goal is about the journey we're setting out on, so that over time the customer can make business decisions as opposed to architectural or operational decisions."

Translation: No.

This answer means that server applications will experience every bit as much lock-in from the multi-million dollar world of VCE Vblocks as in today's public cloud environments.  They would be Vlocks.  Get it?  Locked in by Vblocks = Vlock.  (Yes, I crack myself up.)

This observation is not a commentary on the VCE coalition concept of Vblock Infrastructure packages of tightly integrated offerings from EMC and Cisco, using VMware goods.  Nor does it breath a word about Acadia, EMC and Cisco's joint venture, with an assist from Intel, to build, operate, and transfer (BOT) vblock infrastructure to organizations "who want to accelerate their journey."  (Okay.  Guilty.  I did perhaps snicker when Tucci managed to use the word journey more than 20 times in less than 5 minutes during his segment of the content-rich one hour announcement venue.  To me, "journey" is always a code word for "our vision is not available today."  )

My point is simple and predictable:  The wild frontier of server application portability across private and public clouds, to and from data centers, on physical and virtual servers is a challenge that-so far - only AppZero has domesticated.  I say free your app today.  Why wait?  Make it portable and run your business where you want to run it.  No V-wait or V$$$s required.   Follow Greg O'Connor on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor

More Stories By Greg O'Connor

Greg O'Connor is President & CEO of AppZero. Pioneering the Virtual Application Appliance approach to simplifying application-lifecycle management, he is responsible for translating Appzero's vision into strategic business objectives and financial results.

O'Connor has over 25 years of management and technical experience in the computer industry. He was founder and president of Sonic Software, acquired in 2005 by Progress Software (PRGS). There he grew the company from concept to over $40 million in revenue.

At Sonic, he evangelized and created the Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) product category, which is generally accepted today as the foundation for Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Follow him on Twitter @gregoryjoconnor.