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Zenoss Addressing Cloud Complexity
Evangelist Floyd Strimlling "Helps People Through This Journey"

"Enterprise customers often view stuff that we take for granted as very foreign," says Floyd Strimling, Technical Evangelist & Sr. Director, Marketing & Community at Zenoss, Inc.

By "we" he's referring industry writers, analysts, and executive who live and breathe the leading edge of cloud computing on such a regular basis they can forget that enterprise IT managers are subsumed in their own day-to-day troubles working with the systems that are already in place.

Current discussions about, say, OpenStack vs. CloudStack are provide opportunities "to get much more into conversations with our customers about what's going on, and help people through this journey."

Strimling doesn't like to get hung up on definitions, noting that while "we're seeing it everywhere, it depends on what your definition of cloud is; a private cloud orchestration layer or a provision layer within a virtualization cloud doesn't look the same as Amazon EC2 (of course)."

Having been around long enough to see utility computing evolve into grid computing evolve into cloud computing, he also notes that "IT is getting simpler for users and more complex for administrators. In my opinion, complexity within IT has never been like it is today. The pace of change - and unintended consequences (associated with it) is accelerating."

A History of Serving Enterprise IT
Zenoss was founded 2005, with a focus on large-scale enterprise IT services. The company originally took a general view that it must provide "IT-as-a-Service," something it believes is especially relevant today "as organizations drive towards the vision of automated operations and hybrid cloud infrastructure."

I remember presenting the company with an award for Best Linux Systems Management Tool in 2007, from Enterprise Open Source magazine. Today, the company has seen its software deployed by more than 35,000 organizations throughout the world.

So is there a typical challenge faced by enterprise IT today? "A typical challenge is a company will have thousands of applications running, and are now being asked to go to a new infrastructure," Strimling says. "They have to maintain legacy systems that would be catastrophic if they go down, (yet they) have to move to new innovative architectures. They have to support (all this) and how it all links together, how the legacy apps are linked with virtual apps."

He says he finds that many customers "have so many hands in the kitchen, there's a challenge for IT operations to figure out who a problem originates with. Zenoss helps them with true root analysis and a single pane of glass, looking at everything as one."

"We often see complete frustration by customers who've been at this for a long time, have purchased everything from giant frameworks to niche solutions to obscure solutions to writing their own solutions, and have too many tools that don't talk to one another. There's no unified view. So now they're skeptical (about something else new)."

Enter the Cloud Era
To address this frustration Zenoss "takes traditional monitoring to the next generation of the cloud era, to build a next-generation IT operations platform," Strimling says. "There are people who see things only from the storage viewpoint, or only from networking, only from virtualization. We create a real-time service model where you can see the dependencies and provide that unified view. By providing unified monitoring, allowing customers to monitor IaaS, they can look at things from the viewpoint of what a service is doing."

"You know, IT operations has taken a back to to next-gen stuff like orchestration and provisioning, but IT operations has to become the foundation on which all this stuff is built," he notes. "There's (even) someone at Amazon, for example, who has to make sure everything works."

"The world still runs on SAP, on Oracle, on IBM and HP. In any enterprise, someone has to understand how IT is running and how to repair it. IT ops is more important today than ever."

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About Roger Strukhoff
Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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