Is the Cloud something new?

This will likely be the first post of several relating to ‘cloud’ computing / the cloud.  This is one of the buzz words of the moment with many vendors pushing a variety of cloud services.

Cloud is currently a very nebulous term that encompasses various services such as IAAS (Infrastructure As A Service), SAAS (Software As A Service), PAAS (Platform As A Service).  All of these have been available for some time.

The combination of readily available, resilient and fast connectivity to the internet, along with big players such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft offering various ‘cloud’ services have made it into a the current / next IT buzz of the last few years.

Make no mistake, the concept of outsourcing IT services and infrastructure is not new, but its use is definitely growing and the umbrella term cloud is both as it has caused much great discussion around the benefits and issues of using these services (as well as some confusion around exactly what cloud stands for!).

Cloud offers great benefits to businesses allowing access to flexible and resilient IT infrastructure at a lower cost than purchasing the infrastructure directly.  Larger enterprises can implement internal clouds to allow multiple parts of the enterprise the ability to leverage flexible infrastructure and application performance without their data leaving the control of the enterprise.

Businesses do not have to be ‘all in’ with the cloud, they can utilise a hybrid strategy with certain services such as test and development or specific applications outsourced to the cloud while critical applications and data remain in the control of the business itself.

For anyone reading who thinks they do not yet use cloud services, think about your web usage – do you use web mail of any sort? Online office tools such as Google Docs or Microsoft office online? Blogging applications such as WordPress or Blogger? – these are all cloud services, your data is stored in the cloud somewhere, you can access it from anywhere without ever actually knowing where the applications are running from or where the data is stored!

Upcoming posts will focus on areas such as;

–          Cloud security – where is your data? Who can access it? How is it stored? Is your access guaranteed? Are there regulatory issues?

–          Cloud benefits and issues – variable performance, ease of scaling, reliance on network access.

–          Types of offerings – public vs. private clouds, hybrid solutions, dedicated vs. multi tenancy.

K

1 thought on “Is the Cloud something new?”

  1. Kevin,
    Nice to read this article and the second blog as well focussing around the security. I would be interested to understand the other sides of the challenges as well as to why organisation are not yet completely decided on to jump on to the Cloud wagon other then security , infrastructure , administration and management. It would be good if you can evaluate a hypothetical case of how a traditional organsiation can review there current IT infrastructure and plan to look to move to cloud. This should help a novice like me to understand more in practical terms.

    My views as a database consultant are that any infrastructure architecure including cloud services would finally be used on to deploy a business application, which has an underlying dependency on business data , huge volumes of data and ever changing set of attributes for data. Unfortunately the traditional databases and legacy applications may not exploit the full potential of cloud architecture. There has to be a significant re-engineering of these applications and database, which means high costs. Additionally the core technical expertise used by the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook or any one in designing and implementing huge data reliant business application on cloud technologies and ability to link across data sources and storages is very limited in the today’s industry.
    Oh.. and did we forget as to what the various governance and compliance policies say about what data to store and for how long. Luckily the likes of the above viz:- Amazon, Facebook , Google may have different and little less rigourous compliance policies to be adhered compared to those in telecom, finance or manufacturing sectors.

    Therefore, I guess there will be a two lane adoption process of cloud services and architecture, one will be the superfast lane by technology dependent new age organisation like LinkedIn, Amazon, Facebook, Google, EMail service providers, Datacenters etc and the second will be a relatively very slow pace of direct adoption by manufacturing , finance, telecom , public sectors etc

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