As cloud computing moves into the next phase of adoption, the nature of the conversation is changing. Cloud computing discussions no longer centre around the question of what the cloud is, but rather how it can be used to gain competitive business advantage. The 2011 Cloud Connect conference, a major gathering of cloud providers, customers, developers, analysts, and vendors held in Silicon Valley, offers insight into the current state of cloud computing, and guidance for providers and customers on navigating the emerging cloud landscape.
The Public vs. Private Plus Hybrid Cloud Debate
One of the major developing themes and debates in cloud computing today is the shift away from public vs. private vs. hybrid to public vs. private plus hybrid models. The success of Amazon Web Services (AWS), with has over 60,000 enterprise customers, is proof that customers are embracing the public cloud. However, some industry leaders believe that the private cloud model will continue to see high adoption rates, especially in financial services sectors where customers may not want to place important assets in the public cloud. Other experts see the developing hybrid model as the future of cloud computing, with sensitive data stored on-premises, and other data living in the public cloud. The debate between public vs. private/hybrid models will likely be settled on a case-by-case basis as organisations select and customise cloud models that meet their unique requirements.
Practical Considerations on Migrating into the Cloud
Companies deciding whether or not the cloud is right for them should consider the following factors: data, application, elasticity, and public versus private cloud options. Experts agree that there is a stronger relationship between the cloud and company data rather than company size. This means that small start-ups may have similar needs to Fortune 100 companies, and may benefit from the agility offered by the cloud. Another important factor that companies should consider has to do with deciding which applications to migrate into the cloud. Not every application is right for the cloud. Experts agree that applications with shifting, dynamic traffic volumes are good candidates for the cloud, while those with a steady number of users may be better suited to a fixed infrastructure model. Elasticity, or the dynamic ability to meet business needs with on-demand resources, is another important factor that businesses must account for when migrating into the cloud
. Specifically, businesses need to analyse peaks and troughs in activity when evaluating cloud models.
Advice for Successful Cloud Deployment
For companies on the brink of cloud deployment, industry leaders offer the following practical advice on adopting cloud computing. First, when considering something as large and complex as cloud computing, companies should narrow their focus on the most relevant issues of each specific component. Cloudbursting, which deploys applications to meet spikes in demand, can reduce fixed operating costs and improve use of in-house resources, and should be considered as part of any cloud deployment strategy. Finally, companies need to consider static geo load balancing and performance-based load balancing, which can significantly affect performance when deploying applications across multiple availability zones.
Cloud Computing: Customer and Developer Trends
Cloud computing security,
architecture and software, and applications are continue to be hot topics amongst customers and developers. Although security concerns are still prevalent, the debate in general appears to be waning, with start-up companies appearing the least concerned with the security/accessibility tradeoff debate. In terms of architecture and software, there appears to be a movement towards lower-cost, flexible multi-tenancy models. Software is another major focal point, with greater emphasis placed on failure resilience, automation, scale, and infrastructure management. Finally, customers are expected to pay greater attention to how applications are built and distributed in the cloud. Applications are being designed to be more efficient, module-specific, and with the ability to be "re-architected” so that the cost of going down is as low as possible.