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Five thoughts on the Cloud

by Douwe Pieter van den Bos on March 1, 2010 · 0 comments

Cloud Nine

The first time I encountered Cloud Computing, which was a few years ago, I realized that this just might be the future of our business. But why? At first I couldn’t grasp it exactly. Whether we take a look at Software as a Service, SaaS, Platform as a Service, PaaS or simply hiring some computing power, I learned that five elements are essential within this part of our business.

1. Strategic. Every step into the wondrous world of the cloud has to be a strategic one. People tend to think of it as a scary choice, but the last few years it has taken a leap and therefor there are some more guarantees build in. Once an organization has made the choice for the Cloud, they have done it with some reasons. The following thoughts may lye beneath those choices(, but maybe there are more?) The strategic choice for the Cloud can be found within economical aspects as well as business strategic elements. Cloud computing might mean that the internal IT department of an organization might get smaller or even absence. It shows us that IT really has to be supportive of business processes. Cloud computing therefor only can exist if this is true.

2. Sustainable. While in the traditional business software world we like to think in orders of ‘maximum availability’ and ‘software / hardware performance’ the essentials of cloud computing lye in ‘shared services’. This means, that when we maintain the traditional view we need to make sure our hardware and software are able to handle the stress of the maximum load needed, sometimes even redundantly. This means at least two servers that have the computing power we, at the peaks of it’s use, need. Even if the application or systems running on it only need to run a few hours a day. With the shared computing powers of the cloud we can take advantage of the stress balance that we simply have because we all work on a different time-table. Business hours are not the same over the world. In this way we only consume that what we actually need.

3. Services and Standards. When we move towards the cloud we will need to force ourselves to work with standards. The service we will work with need to be based on these web standards if we want to take real advantage of them. A lot is said about standards, and this is, again, a strategic choice within an organization. Standards make sure we can ‘recycle’ and ‘reuse’ our software. When we take a look at what this means for cloud computing, we see that this is the only way to go. Future integration and migration will be a lot simpler and maintenance will get cheaper.

4. Money. As we know, it all starts with money. When we start using cloud computing there’s no need for a large injection of capital to get started. The capital expenditure (CAPEX) will get lower, however the operational expenditure (OPEX) will probably get higher. This means that there’s no need to invest initially in hardware (and sometimes software) costs. We only pay for what we use.

5. Scalable. The Cloud is more scalable than any traditional hardware / software implementation. This is because we share the services and therefor simply can add more power to the service we’re running. This scalability can be very attractive for organizations that have a traditional scalable market and work with variable workforces. Besides this, it might just be very attractive for startups, because the uncertainly of growth is something that’s not an issue anymore.

These are just my thoughts, are there any more elements that we should take account for?

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