Three Cloudy Things to Remember for 2011

    While the implications of cloud computing are both broad and deep, IT organizations contemplating the use of public cloud computing platforms would do well to consider three significant issues: availability, integration and performance.

    According to Jimmy Tam, general manager and senior vice president of sales and marketing at Peer Software, a provider of file synchronization and replication software, the current perception of cloud computing, particularly in its public incarnation, is out of whack with current IT realities. As a result, he recommends that IT organizations consider the following issues:


    • The first issue stems from the fact that, by definition, IT infrastructure running on public cloud is shared. So you can never be absolutely certain that the actions of another party might not have some impact on your IT operations by making some piece of cloud computing infrastructure unavailable to you. Of course, cloud computing on public cloud computing infrastructure will evolve as virtual data center technologies get more robust. But in the meantime, IT organizations should take this issue under advisement when considering what type of applications to run on public infrastructure.
    • The second thing that needs to be carefully considered is the integration issues facing the IT organization. There is no such thing as a stand-alone enterprise application. Most applications are generally elements of a larger business process. If one key component of that process is in the cloud, the cost of transferring data back and forth across the network will eat up any of the savings on hardware. In fact, it’s quite possible, says Tam, that public cloud computing infrastructure could wind up being more expensive than running applications on an internal ‘private cloud.’ Tam concedes that for some period of time at least, cloud computing will be hybrid. But with that approach comes lots of potential networking costs that should be included when trying to assess the total cost of public cloud computing.
    • The third issue that IT organizations will also need to consider is the performance of any given applications. Applications being accessed over a wide area network are going to be comparatively slow. So putting a mission-critical application that has a lot of latency issues in the cloud might not be the way to go.

    There are still plenty of times when running certain types of applications on a public cloud make good financial and technical sense. But Tam says IT organizations would do well to remember that applications are not deployed in a vacuum, so don’t expect to deploy every application on the public cloud just because that’s the buzz of the moment.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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