Cloud computing is the use of computing resources (hardware and software) that are delivered as a service over a network (typically the internet). – wikipedia
Since Amazon launched AWS in 2006 Cloud Computing has steadily grown in adoption and is now starting to gain traction in traditional SME markets. According to an american SMB IT survey the number of companies adopting cloud technology has risen from 28 percent to 48 percent in the last 12 months alone showing that adoption is well and truly under way.
Clouds come in many different formats, shapes and sizes just like the real ones in the sky and the term ‘The cloud’ can be ambiguous and extremely generic in terms of implementation models. These could be IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, DRaaS and Xaas just for starters and then you have deployments strategies of private, public, hybrid, on-premise, off-premise, enterprise, commodity etc. Navigating cloud models and finding out which ones would be applicable to a specific business is extremely daunting never mind understanding the impact each has on existing infrastructure and skills within the organisation.
Examples Model Implementations
Look at Netflix a company who need high level resilience and redundancy built into their service and therefore would be ready for a public off-premise IaaS cloud enabling them to achieve low-cost, on demand limitless elastic computing resource during peak loads and bursts. The truth is that this is an extreme example of what could be achieved but many companies needs will be much smaller than this.
Many smaller companies existing core business and applications have dependencies on legacy computing infrastructure models that currently provide high availability and security. Along with this many of the applications are integrated with other applications and databases on private internal networks that require direct communication to function properly. These types of companies would be better served with a private, on-premise, IaaS cloud model. This means that they might not achieve instant public cloud cost advantages but will be able to allocate and distribute resources more easily to suit variable loading within the organisation.
The term ‘Cloud’ is not enough in itself for people to understand how it can be layered onto their organisation and while the examples above only briefly show the variances in models and how they can be implemented there is still much effort needed in explanation and understanding to ensure expectations are aligned with what can be done.
There is no question that evolving cloud technologies have the ability to provide all shapes and sizes of companies with scalable and flexible resources, the real challenge is determining which strategy to implement for each specific business.