There's nothing green about a greenfield cloud deployment

There's nothing green about a greenfield cloud deployment

Summary: 'What is defined as greenfield is really just a grain of sand on an island of technology that still needs to integrate into the greater organization.'


Often, in planning for cloud services, people prefer to first build and launch "greenfield" applications, versus making attempts to virtualize, abstract, transform, replace, transition, or upgrade (pick your term) an existing application/system. It makes sense, since no one wants to mess with an application and leave end-users waiting for days or weeks until things are ready to go again on a new platform. However, even greenfield deployments may not be as pristine as perceived.

Clouds over Lake Galena Dam Bucks County PA by Joe McKendrick
Photo: Joe McKendrick

Edward Haletky, for one, says there's really no such thing as a greenfield project, unless you are starting a company from scratch. In a recent post at The Virtualization Practice, Haletky, president of AstroArch Consulting and author of two books on VMware enterprise virtualization, argues that even when launching new applications or services that never existed before, there are still integration issues that need to be considered. "What is defined as greenfield is really just a grain of sand on an island of technology that still needs to integrate into the greater organization," he points out.

Any new application or service still must be configured and integrated into the existing infrastructure, he points out. "Anything that is placed into that environment must work within the virtual environment or the existing cloud environment, whether the item placed there is a security device, converged infrastructure, storage, management tool, performance tool, or even a new hypervisor. These must all integrate into an existing deployment."

The bottom line is more information and transparency is needed. Any and all new services and applications need to fit into an existing data center infrastructure, and may even require changes to underlying services or tools, Haletky points out. Vendors need to provide more support in this regard as well, with integration instruction and assistance, as well as reference archtectures, he says. "Vendors can reuse existing architectures, but they should tell us how they differ from past products and what hardware is required to make them work."

So, there are actually no greenfields -- only new applications or services that need to be compliant with existing and tested infrastructure and technology to make things run as they should.

Topics: Cloud, Enterprise Software, Software Development, Cloud Priorities

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1 comment
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  • I Guess

    But it sounds like "turns out" babble to me.

    Infrastructure is infrastructure because it has some flexibility with regards to what may use it. That's the difference between a donkey cart (not infrastructure) and a road (infrastructure.) And were one to say that a project cannot truly be greenfield because it must utilize decades old http/https, well, okay, pedantry deluxe, but okay. Or, were I to put it another way, everyone, even that startup, has constraints. No silver bullets, right?

    But, the real question for Messrs. Halecky and McKendrick is if one changes the metaphor from an open field to a grain of sand on a beach of land surrounded by water, have we really achieved an insight. Would Mr. Halecky walk into a client and insist that they do a global replace on their white papers, replace greenfield with island beach sand grain. Would, then, everything become clearer to the client?