Configuring a virtual data center in the cloud…literally.

Ladies and gentlemen please be sure your tray tables and seat backs are in their upright and locked positions…we are going for a ride in the Skytap Cloud. It occurred to me today on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco to attend and exhibit at VMworld 2010, that we live in one of the most interesting times in human history. In the last twenty years we have seen the birth of the World Wide Web in 1989, to the founding of Yahoo and Google in 1994 and 1998 respectively, to MySpace in 2003, Facebook and Twitter in 2006, and the advent of the iPhone in 2007. Now we are living the age of the ever nebulous “Cloud”, which many people believe will be the source of technological innovation for the next decade. There is no question from a technology perspective we are living in one of the most if not the most fascinating times in human history.

To further illustrate my point I decided to use Alaska Airlines’s inflight wifi to launch Skytap Cloud as I sailed through the air on a Boeing 737 at 35,000 feet somewhere over the state of Oregon. In a matter of seconds through my web browser I was able to login to Skytap Cloud, launch and spin up 6 virtual machines in less than 30 seconds from my laptop.

To take my experiment further and make my point about how amazingly cool technology and specifically Skytap is, I suspended and relaunched the same configuration in Skytap Cloud from my iPhone. Now granted, an iPhone (or any mobile device) is hardly the most efficient way to configure, launch and administer a virtual datacenter. However, it can be done and quite quickly for that matter.

We now more than ever have the freedom and ability to create tremendous computing power from anywhere in the world within mere seconds. Assuming I was a training manager, I could have configured a robust training environment on a Sunday afternoon from an airplane, launched a training session from row 14 seat A and administered a training course with students in San Francisco, Sao Palo, Sienna, Singapore, or anywhere in the world. Likewise as a developer manager I could have just as easily created a development environment to test or migrate enterprise applications in the Skytap Cloud literally among the clouds. Or as an IT manager,  I could automate the provisioning, monitoring, resource management, user management and import/export of VM images.  I could have easily implemented my company’s IT policies and control services to ensure security, granular role based access control, audit usage, create reports, assign and track quota and maintain corporate compliance. This is powerful and amazing stuff.

When Google Enterprise Product Manager Rishi Chandra said at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference earlier this summer that “The next 10 years of innovations are going to be in the cloud”, there is no question Mr. Chandra was right and no denying that the next 20 years will be more amazing than the last.

-Nate Odell

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