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October 08, 2009



Speaking of cloud - you may enjoy this one (we just put it up):

Cloud Cloud Maybe - a parody

It takes off on all the usual suspects - Amazon, Nirvanix, Parascale, Sun Cloud (?), Azure etc - and yes, Atmos too.

Travis Brown

I find the comment about your not blaming any vendor that attempts to dress up a few existing offerings as "cloud-ready" because we all have to make a living ironic.

Isn't that exactly what your doing with the acquisition of Kazeon?

Chuck Hollis


If there was a consensus definition around "cloud", we'd have a better shot at defining "cloud ready".

I am not close to the Kazeon product, but here's what I would be looking for: can be consumed as a software service and/or traditional on-premise models, can store information on geographically distributed storage devices (e.g Atmos or similar), and maybe something else I forgot.

The motivation for the Kazeon acquisition was not primarily a cloud-related one -- I don't know where you're connecting the two concepts, since they're largely unrelated.

Over time, almost all EMC products will have to work in some sort of cloud model -- it's inevitable. Hard to single out Kazeon or anything else in this regard.

Irony is in the eye of the beholder.

-- Chuck


myself I don't find "cloud storage" very useful yet, I mean it's great if you can build an application that can take advantage of it, but given that most cloud storage systems are API driven to some degree, it doesn't really help me in the IT/OPS side of the company. Not only is it cumbersome to work with but bandwidth requirements can be excessive as well. We have a roughly a gigabit of committed bandwidth available to us, and even at that level performance isn't great, and latency is of course horrible.

Not saying that cloud storage is bad, it certainly has it's uses, but it's getting frustrating that so many people out there seem to be touting the cloud as something that can just be a drop in replacement for everything(I don't mean you Chuck).

Working with amazon's S3 for example was really frustrating to deal with the limitations and security implications with regards to cloud storage(e.g. splitting things up into 5GB chunks, encrypting it etc).

Bandwidth isn't cheap, and I believe our data sets are expanding far far faster than our pipes are. Take a look at U.S. broadband bandwidth vs storage as an example, or look at the explosion of data usage on AT&T's network for the iPhone for another example as far as how inadequate, yet expensive bandwidth is compared to local storage.

In an ideal world, cloud storage would be great, but in my opinion internet networks aren't ready for it(any more than they are ready for wide scale streaming video, sure you can make it happen but you will pay 3 arms, 2 heads and 5 legs for it), and the privacy/security concerns of running everything in a public cloud is likely to significantly hamper it's adoption.

The one thing I could see happening though is "cloud storage" technologies being shrink wrapped and sold to organizations who can use them to leverage their infrastructure to provide higher utilization of the gear that they have. Though I think that is still a ways off.

Jeff K. Smith

Cloud computing provides even more opportunity to relinquish the little bit of control that remains over the IT environment. Now, we will not even know where our data is or who we depend upon from one moment to the next for our mission critical systems. Systems will never operate the same way again from one day to the next. They barely do now, anymore. Just don't depend on anything and we'll all be fine. Great new gimmick for business to make money though... till ther next one comes along. It will be the users, the ones who keep the businesses and gov't departments afloat and operating every day who will be left to clean up after the party is over, as always.


Who cares?

Whether you call it "cloud" or not, whether it "qualifies", doesn't matter in the slightest.

The only things that matter are:

Do I have a use for this?

Does it do something for me that another technology can't?

Is it secure, I mean really secure (not just a bunch of boxes ticked off while installing each component)?

Back in the mid 90s I worked on a project management system in Oracle, and there were pieces of the system and data strewn across half the world. It worked, and it was totally transparent to the users and programmers. It was as secure as dedicated telecommunication lines could make it. It did the job, and at the time there wasn't any other way to do it.

This is pretty close to what you described, but is it cloud? maybe. Does could computing require that everything be "on the net", or does a private (semi-) global network qualify?

Chuck Hollis


Your points around "what it does" vs. "what to call it" are very valid indeed, and bear repeating. My post is more of a reaction to various vendors in the storage industry recycling their wares, and calling it "cloud".

I'd like to keep the focus on what's different, rather than what's the same :-)

Your distributed project management application at Oracle sounds very cool indeed, but I wouldn't call in necessarily a "cloud" -- didn't run on pooled infrastructure that was dynamically consumable, for example.

Your point on "everything on the net" is a good one -- I think the higher-order concept everyone's grappling for is "control" -- security and service delivery -- regardless of who owns the underlying infrastructure.

Thanks for commenting!

-- Chuck

Chuck Hollis


I'd agree with you that IT needs to retain control of the overall IT experience -- service delivery, security, etc. -- otherwise it will be a grim world.

One of the things I really like about the private cloud model is that it allows IT to retain control regarding all aspects of the IT strategy. Without someone in control of IT, it'll all turn into a big mess.

-- Chuck

Doug Rainbolt

I got a chuckle out of comparing traditional file systems to your experience with Hollerith Cards. It must have been a tough going until you learned to automate the process. How tough can life at UC Santa Cruz get? Especially in the late 70’s. Beach parties, the boardwalk, coeds - I mean how tough was it? At least you didn’t have to make the trek to the computer center in the pouring rain, like it did 85% of the time where I went to school. It was automate or grow webbed feet (with the Nike logo clearly visible).

Your posting did have me thinking about meta-data. At Tektronix some years back, we were involved in the whole TV station work flow automation evolutionary process. Large TV Broadcasting groups were buying up the independent stations. It became clear that the opportunity to leverage content, especially in news production was an important means to differentiation and efficiency. If executed well, this translated into ratings and advertising dollars. I began to understand the importance of rich meta- data in describing content. It was so much more than simple file and directory names. It was rich descriptions of the data; the asset; the inventory. Back then, it was often impractical to keep full resolution video content, either in the form of Betacam tapes or even on disk drives (e.g. Profile) in every station. Instead there was interest in meta- data capture and routing between locations. Quick searches could be executed, low resolution edits based upon low bandwidth consuming copies could be done, before broadcast quality video was delivered and prepared for transmission. As we think about cloud computing, the extension of work flow automation where data is king comes to mind. Descriptions of the data drive how the plumbing routes it, displays it, and protects it. This can be made as manual or as automated as users want it to be. Plumbing will be built on commodity hardware, and of course the tools we have come to appreciate, such as de-duping and thin provisioning need to be there. We could see meta data that describes meta data and find that CPU cores and the associated memory structure are spending a great many more cycles, in addition to supporting virtualization, executing meta data that links to the execution storage applications, locally and across the Wide Area. Quite possibly, one of Pat Gelsingers’ contributions to EMC, on top of his leadership abilities, will be making extensive and efficient use of processors for meta-data processing and handling.

Chuck Hollis


Thanks for the *very* insightful comment. And, for many years, the thinking around the importance of metadata in information handling has been first and foremost in our minds, reflected in some of our products -- but there's much more to do here.

And you're right, the advent of a new wave of cheap/plentiful compute will make us look at old problems in a new light.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Chuck

Cheap  Computers Canada

I began to understand the importance of rich meta- data in describing content. It was so much more than simple file and directory names.

Project Management Software

The one thing I could see happening though is "cloud storage" technologies being shrink wrapped and sold to organizations who can use them to leverage their infrastructure to provide higher utilization of the gear that they have. Though I think that is still a ways off.

IT Support Northridge

Private clouds go a bit further, and assume you're doing this with virtualization (presumably VMware) in such a way that you can do this behind the firewall, using external service providers, or any dynamic combination of the two.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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