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Cloudy with a Chance of Computing!

I had the fortunate experience as a new member of the Guidelight team to attend both AITP Austin session, “Cloudy with a Chance of Computing” and SXSW Interactive. Both events were very informative and had several interesting and highly opinioned panelists on Cloud Computing. The following blog is a compilation of @Guidelight’s Tweets (Notes) from the related cloud discussions from both of these events. The most interesting panelists from both of these events were Brian Wilson (Surgient), Mark Cathcart (Dell), @whurley, and Josh Koenig (Chapter Three).

Cloud Computing really is about the benefits to the enterprise today. Definitions of Cloud Computing ranged from the ability to provision, deploy, and scale resources such as eBay, Google, and the 400 Million users of Facebook to the Enterprise perspective of pooling resources in order to self-service and monitor IT activities. The Cloud is not something new but a word that encompasses a collection of technologies that meet business needs. Cloud advances and changes ways to program, distribute, and manipulate volumes of data that is now more affordable than once were on a mainframe.

Businesses have only 2 resources: time or money. Clouds are good for businesses that are experiencing rapid growth. Before getting started with the cloud, businesses should understand their key requirements (both business and technical) to be serviced by the cloud. However, business decisions drive privacy policies and technical decisions need to support business functions. Therefore cost and privacy issues are the primary decision drivers of private vs. public clouds. Businesses should really trust their cloud providers before placing private or business sensitive data on the cloud. The real benefit of clouds is reducing IT costs by taking advantage of virtualization, moving to modern more reliable hardware while reducing energy costs.

Some of the best use cases for clouds:
1. Development and Test – Including Interactive Application Design and Development
2. Proof of Concepts and/or Sales Demos
3. Non transactional activities such as search and analytics (These scale well on the cloud)

The big words for 2010 are Private Cloud Services or/and cloud value added services. Private clouds do not define borders of the business but built to standards where security is around data & access. All transactional data should go to private clouds. If a business gives sales data or trade secrets to a private cloud, they should trust their cloud provider. Private clouds provide a balance to the risk equation by protecting data loss at a system level. In fact, honest clouds have downtime with instances that will fail. However, private cloud providers are prepared for failures and quickly handle it.

Trust & security changes on a moment and business must understand what a breach in sensitive data will cost. It is still a good idea to have protected limited access business transactional data backups separate from private clouds.

Lastly, virtualization is not a new concept and in fact has been around since the 70’s. The real technical issues are that of elasticity and scaling. Clouds are Data Centers and transfer complexity to become a software issue around compute capacity. Ultimately, elasticity will be defined from the end users view of a business’s cloud implementation

We at Guidelight look forward to assisting and answering your questions about Cloud Computing and placing your web or custom software application on the cloud.



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