I was on a call this week with Platform Computing, a well-known software vendor in the high-performance computing (HPC) world of grids and clusters that is now trying to make the leap to the Cloud Computing market.
Platform Computing has a strong reputation in the HPC world, selling software that helps manage these multi-processing environments, but it is keen to expand its market coverage and open up new opportunities in more general areas of IT, and it has selected the Cloud Computing marketplace to help it achieve these diversification aims. At first, this may seem odd, but a little thought quickly shows that this is not nearly as big a leap for Platform as it might at first seem. After all, internal clouds almost always involve virtualization, and handling the management needs of a virtualized environment is very much up Platform Computing’s street.
But for me, the real nugget that came out of this briefing was an interesting distinction that helps improve understanding of Cloud Computing and its relationship to Virtualization. I meet a growing number of people who have heard about Cloud, but do not see the distinction between Cloud and virtualization. While there are a number of ways to look at this distinction, as I discussed in my Executive Overview to Cloud which Lustratus offers at no charge from its web store, the discussions with Platform brought another one that I think is an interesting take. The Platform position is that virtualization solutions by definition only make virtualized resources available for usage. Its Cloud management software differentiates itself from virtualization by offering heterogeneous access to resources – that is, Cloud-based access to resources that have already been virtualized AND ones that haven’t. I think this is a useful distinction to keep in mind when looking at data centre strategies.