The Utilitarian Nature of Cloud Computing

Michael Vizard

Despite all the hype about every application workload in the world moving into the cloud, some practical patterns are starting to emerge in the types of applications people are moving to the cloud.

According to Chris Pyle, CEO of Champion Solutions Group, one of thousands of IT services firms that now have cloud computing practices, the two most popular classes of cloud computing applications are "community" applications and secondary applications that aren't used regularly.

Community applications include electronic mail and unified communications. These applications tend to be <strong>difficult to manage and have a lot of users distributed across multiple time zones</strong>.

The second class of applications includes things like backup and recovery, and anything that is used irregularly. As Pyle points out, if an application is only really used a couple of times a month, IT organizations don't want to dedicate precious internal IT resources to support it. Perhaps more importantly, IT organizations will not want to pay license fees for software they use only occasionally, so don't be surprised if we see more emphasis being placed on usage models for licensing.

Pyle firmly believes in a blended computing model under which IT organizations eventually will have application workloads closely integrated with applications running in the cloud thanks largely to advances in virtualization.

But it may take awhile to get there. For the short term at least, Pyle said cloud computing will be used to support primary application "jewels" that will continue to run primarily on premise. Longer term, elements of those applications also will move into the cloud. And, of course, there are examples of new green-field applications being developed for the cloud. But for the time being, Pyle notes, cloud computing will continue to play a supporting role to the main enterprise applications already running on premise.

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