General Electric: Cloud Testing 1,2,3…

Nicholas Hoover informs us that General Electric is pilot testing the Cloud. Here are a few key points:

  • GE has tens of thousands of servers in 10 primary data centers, and the number of servers in those facilities is growing 20% annually.
  • 60% of GE’s servers are already virtualized.
  • GE is already testing cloud platforms from three vendors: Cisco, Sun, and VMware
  • CTO Greg Simpson is deciding whether they want “one expansive internal cloud or multiple discrete clouds dedicated to, say, Web serving or financial systems.” (He’s leaning towards the latter.)
  • GE wants to “avoid building special GE code,” and they “don’t have the energy to figure out how to do this right all by ourselves.” Simpson thinks they can “help cloud vendors get there faster.”
  • GE’s IT organization currently charges business units a flat rate per physical server that covers power, cooling, and hardware. A private cloud would let them charge for IT resources based on consumption or per user.
  • GE is evaluating cloud-based applications like WebEx, Zoho, Google Apps, and PostPath.
  • GE has used Amazon’s Web Services for “cloud bursting”
  • CTO Simpson expects Cloud computing to reduce both power consumption and total employees managing the data centers

My take: if a company like GE takes cloud computing seriously, shouldn’t you?

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