It’s tough to look anywhere and not catch an advertisement, news report, P.R. announcement or whitepaper related to cloud computing. Cited by numerous researchers as a major trend of 2010 and/or 2011 (some even call cloud computing a major trend of the coming decade), cloud computing has certainly captured the business world’s attention. Heck, the Chinese are probably contemplating tossing out the Year of the Dog or Cat or Dragon or whatever for 2011 in favor of the Year of the Cloud…
In a recent CTO Edge article, the author cites some specific must-haves when considering a switch to the Cloud in 2011: availability, integration and performance.
First, will the computer applications nearest and dearest to your heart be available to you? In a sort of Newton’s law of cloud physics (every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction), the actions of other cloud users may impact availability of cloud-based resources when you need them. In time, public cloud infrastructures will improve and this problem will fade, but for now a main strength of public cloud computing is also a major weakness: it’s shared by you and others.
Second, just as no man is an island, likely none of your business computer applications stand alone. Your apps are integrated and even inter-dependent and the cost of data transfer back and forth between apps may offset the cost savings on hardware. So, transitioning to (and even operating in) public cloud computing for these integrated applications may be a technology challenge and financial black hole of hair-ball proportions.
Third, your network performance in a public cloud computing environment is dependent upon connectivity to the Cloud. Can you say latency? Can you say sloooooooowed network speeds? Who wants their mission-critical computer applications to sound like Will Ferrell in “Old School?”
So, how can you embrace the benefits of cloud computing and maintain excellent availability, integration, and performance? Private cloud computing or what’s being called hybrid cloud computing. Jimmy Tam, senior vice president of Peer Software, says public cloud computing infrastructure could be significantly more expensive than running on an internal private cloud.
Private cloud computing, which basically emulates cloud computing on a private network, has come under fire for failing standard benefits of cloud computing: 1.) reduced or eliminated up-front capital expenditures for hardware, etc. and 2.) no longer having to build or maintain your network infrastructure. Basically, only very large organizations who either benefit from vast economies of scale or simply don’t care about how much it costs, like the federal government, choose to build and maintain a private cloud.
For the rest of us, enter hybrid cloud computing, also known as local cloud computing. With hybrid – or local – cloud computing, you don’t build or maintain your own computer network and therefore avoid the up-front CapEx and other administrative and financial ”fuss and muss” inherent to an in-house network. You also avoid latency issues because your cloud exists behind your firewall.
To find out more about local/hybrid cloud computing and how your business can benefit, find an IT provider who offers local/hybrid cloud computing.