Cloud Computing, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), IaaS, PaaS are all former names of what just was called Application Service Providing. Lots of buzzwords that score high on the Gartner Hypecycle.
Customers all seem to want to join the hype, jumping on the Cloud bandwagon. In this day and age, there is such a confusion of meanings and terminology that delving into the writings of analysts such as Gartner, Forrester, Ovum, IDC, and the like is more than necessary in order to gain a common understanding of what is exactly meant when pronoucing those buzzwords.
In that respect, I particularly like the way that Forrester described the three core fundamentals of cloud computing i.e. :
- a standardized IT capability or service
- pay per use or metered consumption
- self-service deployment
Connecting to your Cloud
Yet, let me add to this by emphasising a differentiation between 3 main characteristics of Cloud Computing:
- Private Cloud
- Public Cloud
- Hybrid Cloud
A private cloud is often referred to when using a private network (i.e. MPLS) to go to a cloud provider (single or multi-tenant). This is the closest to outtasking or outsourcing today and already done on a wide scale.
A public cloud is actually the same but then uses the internet as a transport medium (with appliation security of IPsec).
A hybrid cloud (see picture above) is the combination of both. Actually I would say it is the best of both worlds. You have the security, performance and QoS when you are in the office and you have maximum flexibility when you are working from home or a roaming user.
Sometimes, in the minds of certain IT managers, putting one's data in the Cloud becomes an end in itself. Those IT managers don't even look at the advantages or disadvantages of Cloud technology anymore. Going for Cloud technology means in that case, moving into the public Cloud.
Perceived Advantages of moving towards the cloud
- Rapid Deployment
- Pay Per Use
- Often limited or no start up fees
- Limited or no CAPEX
- Generic and Multi-Tenant service
- Little or no customization possible
- Limitied monitoring or reporting capabilities
- SLA's may not fit the business need
- Sensitivity or Regulatory challenges of Data Storage
- Inability to integrate multiple vendors in one solution (no best-of-breed capability)
Implementing Cloud solutions
It is not uncommon that IT people see many obstacles with regard to Cloud technology:
- Security => ask for the right certifications of your cloud provider (ISO27001 and SAS70)
- Quality of Service => use a private way of connecting to your cloud provider, so can you can control performance
- Internet capacity & peering => it is not uncommon that destinations cannot be reached via the Internet (cause internet ISP's lack certain routes in their routingtables, try and fix this when you don't have direct contact with this ISP's.
How to overcome those obstacles?
Organizations need to change to adapt to Cloud computing technology. This cannot be done instantaneously, and has to be done step by step.
- 1. Less critical appliations first
Start with some applications that are not that critical or time sensitive, i.e. email for certain group of users that are less dependent on this (i.e. factory workers)
- 2. Hybrid Cloud support migrating in a low risk pace
When migrating towards cloud services from a multi-tenant cloud provider, it is ideal if you could migrate at you own pace. Not having to redirect all you traffic towards the internet directly, but connect the way you prefer at the time you want. Orange Business is enabling Hybrid Clouds with its product called VPN Gallery. You can take a subscribtion to your favorite Cloud provider and just access it instantly from your exsiting network.
Any Time, Any Place, Any Where, Any Connectivity
After a Masters in Business Economics and Information Management on the University of Rotterdam , Jako decided that he preferred IT over sheer numbers, economics and finance. His 10-year career has taken him through several Telecoms and Integration companies. On a daily basis Jako is in contact with multinational global customers mainly in the Netherlands and known for their easy adoption of new technologies. He continues to write about a range of IT and communications topics such as Networks, Security, Cloud Computing, Voice, Video/Telepresence and Unfied Communications. (twitter @djeekcom)