There’s been a movement afoot for quite some time now, and in fact – the big wave of technology is headed into the sky, or more to the point: the clouds. I have been reading about and investigating cloud computing for quite some time now, and I am convinced that Cloud is here to stay. So why all the hype? Why is it game-changing? What about it makes it so different? Well, read on and I’ll try to share some thoughts with you.
1) Cloud Computing makes “hardware & software” both: ubiquitous. You no longer need to worry if it will work seemlessly, or if it works at all – or if the latest version can do this or that with parallel or partitioned computing resources. Come-on, Grid is out, Grid is old-hat, Grid is for die-hards in their IT shops who “feel the need” to hold on to their own personal server kingdom.
Now, do you still need to worry? Yes, about your pocket-book. Which means, as a business user you need to worry about performance, you need to worry about resource hogging processes, you need to worry about efficient use of the resources, you need to put pressure on the cloud providers to go green, to eat less power, all in the name of saving you those razor thin margins. If you (as a business user) don’t worry about these things, and you jump blindly into the cloud – it can have the effect of eating all your cash reserves. By the time you figure out what’s happening, you will owe the cloud vendor HUGE sums of money for resources that were used (or better yet: squandered) where they shouldn’t be.
Many are talking about why Cloud Computing is better, faster, cheaper – and yes – many of those things are TRUE, but if you don’t force “software vendors” to clean up their code, be more efficient, use less resources (sound familiar?) then you will have to worry. Instead of continually pushing on your IT department to “do more with less”, you’ll have to pay attention to software bloat from vendors. Maybe, they will get rid of features from products that simply sit idle and “eat resources” for the fun of it?
Ok – I’m being a bit unfair, sorry about that. Let me give you the other side… the Vendor side.
There are a TON of good software vendors out there, and they are all competing for your buck. They see the cloud coming just like you and I do. They know that the “better/faster/cheaper” software will earn them more profitability, they know that code-bloat is a bad thing to their bottom line (I hope), they know that if they have “more instances running inside the cloud” that it is better than “one instance that uses all the resources” (because you can equate more instances to more customers, which means more sales for them).
2) Cloud Computing offers a vast array of the “latest” technology, and MUST promise the business community 24x7x365 up-time, or they won’t get the gig… So, in that case the vendors of the cloud will always be upgrading to newer more green hardware, and you’ll wake up in the morning to notice that your system now runs faster, not slower.
3) Cloud computing offers serious virtualization, which means several instances can be spread all over the globe with high-speed network backbones – so… are you listening cloud vendors? NO SINGLE POINT OF FAILURE should be a measuring stick by which Cloud Computing service providers are stacked against. It will be a boon to the back-bone carriers, and it will hopefully lead to new heavy-duty networking devices and more bandwidth (inside the cloud) that you could ever hope for. You never know if your spreadsheet will be running in Asia today, or Austrailia tomorrow. Heck, you wouldn’t know where it is running minute to minute.
4) Cloud Computing reaches mobile devices… Yes, think about it – all that power, single consolidated “systems”, web-interfaces, and light-weight protocols allow you to connect ALL your devices, laptops, and “existing-soon-to-be-outdated” servers.
Is Cloud Computing a panacea? No, I think not. There are still plenty of places and plenty of reasons why not to move to the cloud, but that’s for another blog entry.
I would say for now: to all you executives out there – read about PRIVATE CLOUDS, learn about them, and to those CIO’s feeling the squeeze from Business, this just might be the break you need to make your systems and IT really humm.
I’ll leave you with this thought: IT folks are scared, they are thinking “I’m going to lose my job if the company moves to Cloud Computing”… They may be right, on the other hand – what they should be REALLY focused on is: “How can I learn the business? What assistance can I offer the business in moving to cloud computing? How do I become an expert in the use and evalutation of Cloud Computing Vendors?” Wake Up People… If you have Business Knowledge, and can demonstrate value – then they will come to you for advice. There is still software out there to “choose”, vendors to separate, and functionality “in-the-cloud” to build out. Not every piece of software has even yet made it to the cloud…. ok – the ones that don’t will be left behind in 2011, but that’s another story too.
Got thoughts on Cloud Computing? Got a different opinion? Love to hear, please feel free to comment.
I am an independent data warehousing consultant who created the Data Vault Model and Methodology. You can find out more about Data Vault by clicking: http://danLinstedt.com - on this site, you can discover all information pertaining to my consulting practice