Cloud Computing: Myths, Fears and Facts
Last time we were writing about Cloud Computing basics. Today we are going to discuss myths about cloud computing. Our main goal is to understand what is real and what is just a myth.
Probably the most controversial topic about Cloud Computing is it’s cost. On the one hand, vendors usually say cloud computing is cheaper then traditional IT. On the other hand, there are lots of examples when count their cloud expenses, compare results with traditional infrastructure cost and get opposite experience. So, where is the truth?
Well, the truth is that Cloud is expensive but sometimes cheaper. How can it be? There are three basic principles of cost calculation when you are trying to determine cost of your cloud infrastructure:
1. Do correct TCO calculation.
2. Remember about workload patterns.
3. Do not forget about additional benefits of the Cloud.
Cloud cost is like an iceberg: you see only its top part and most its volume is hidden under water. People usually tend to calculate only hardware price when they are comparing cloud cost with on-premise infrastructure. However, total cost of ownership is much bigger than just a hardware price: you have to remember about staff salary, training, operations costs, risk management and lots of other things that cloud vendor do for you.
Another important thing you have to understand when you are considering cloud hosting for your application: workload patterns. There are several types of application workload that work best with the cloud:
Each of the patterns above utilize key property of the cloud: ability to scale up and down. Main difference with traditional IT here is in pay-per-use nature of the cloud: you don’t have to pay for resources when you don’t use them. With traditional IT you have to pay in advance for all resources you need and it is not so easy to get rid of them in case they are no longer needed.
And what if you have this:
Well, maybe it means cloud is not suitable for your case. Or you forgot about additional benefits of the cloud. What are these benefits?
First of all, cloud allows you to transfer your capital expenses to operational. Basically it means you don’t have to pay in advance for your infrastructure. It is usually easier to pay money after you serviced your clients and got money from them than to pay in advance when you are still not sure if anyone will actually buy your service.
Another great benefit of the cloud: faster time-to-value. With cloud you can shorten time, required for infrastructure setup from months to hours. It is very important for big enterprises, where IT services are often terribly slow. Sometimes it takes several months to buy and setup servers for some particular application. At the same time with the cloud it takes just several minutes to allocate resources and deliver them to development team. It means additional flexibility and agility for your business which automatically leads to competitive advantage.
And the last but not least: with cloud computing you can focus on your core business and don’t care about IT infrastructure management. Let professionals do their part of job and focus on your part.
Cloud is still something new and unknown for lots of people. People are usually scared by new things and cloud is not an exception in this case. We are going to review most common fears about the cloud and determine whether they are real or not.
Security is probably the most discussed thing about the cloud in the enterprise community. Businesses want to leverage cloud benefits, but they are worried about their data which sometimes is their biggest asset. How to make sure that data is secured in the cloud? Let’s take a look at facts. Security risks in the cloud are pretty much the same as in your own data-center. Really. If you don’t make some extraordinary efforts to secure your data center from unauthorized access, you have the same security as in the cloud. Moreover cloud providers continuously improve their security which probably means that your data center actually might be less secured. Simply because big vendors hire world’s best security engineers and you usually don’t.
Most vendors nowadays offer the customer different levels of security protection. You can setup virtual private clouds accessible only from your corporate network. You can use numerous encryption algorithms. You can have almost any type of security configuration you can imagine with modern cloud offerings. So, security is just a matter of right usage, not an actual issue of the cloud.
Data control lose
Some people are worried that they can lost access to their data in case of some catastrophic failure. It is true that it can happen, but let’s look at the facts. In fact, the data in the cloud is replicated and geographically distributed, which means it is much safer than in most private data-centers. Just ask yourself, are you sure that the data in your data-center is replicated to several devices? And what about geographical distribution? What if there will be some natural disaster in the region where your data-center is located? Moreover, nowadays, if you lost the Internet connection it usually means lost data access is not your biggest problem. It is hard to underestimate importance of the Internet for modern international companies. In case they would lost the connection they could not operate at all. Data accessibility would not be biggest of their problems in such case.