The Cloud is Dead. Long Live the Cloud!
I am going to tempt fate here. Just over two years ago when we starting investigating moving our service to ‘The Cloud’ all the talk was about lack of security, instability, outages and trust. There were some pretty public cloud platform failures and to be honest not that many of our customers were convinced that the time was right. In fact neither were we but the numbers stacked up and we took the plunge.
Nowadays, a web search for cloud services turns up an entirely different set of results. The talk is more about how the cloud is best utilized by businesses and what cloud services are already on offer. It’s clear that a mind shift is underway and that what was once a vague concept poorly defined on Wikipedia is now an accepted strategy with a clear value proposition. Cloud hype can blur the reality but I would suggest the following as real benefits available to your customers today:
- When testing out a new service or running proof of concept systems for customers nothing beats the simplicity of delivering the service from the cloud. Single servers to super-computers can be spun up rapidly on demand and then shut down once you are done with them without the penalties associated with procuring your own systems.
- Nothing scales like the cloud. If you are not sure what your demand and capacity requirements will look like 6 months out then hosting in the cloud will help you avoid costly mistakes. Configuration not right? Break it down and start again. Spiky traffic patterns are also well suited to the clouds just-in-time procurement model.
- Despite some well publicized outages, the cloud makes it easy to construct highly redundant and distributed architectures. Many still choose not to, but for those users who leverage the redundant nature of the cloud it has never been easier to bake availability into your hosted services.
- Mobile services excel in the cloud. Agility is all important and without cloud hosting it’s likely that services such as PBS – whose mobile streaming grew from 200 terabytes three years ago to 40 petabytes last month – would not have been possible.
So while outages can never be completely eliminated, it is only the laggards that nowadays don’t have a cloud strategy. The cost, scale and accessibility advantages, correctly applied, far outweigh the last remaining doubts.