In 2012, Apple co-founder and tech icon Steve Wozniak said he's worried about the "horrendous" problems cloud computing could cause as users yield control of their data to service providers. Had he already the Bit Coin crash or Mt. Gox going offline in mind, which happened two years later? (also they did host their services themselves, the exact reasons of the issues were never fully disclosed). Nevertheless, many people just seem to trust the cloud and benefit from the advantages of cloud services and this lets the cloud market continue to gain acceptance and becoming a key element in delivering IT services.
Cloud computing in a nutshell
Two out of many definitions say that „Cloud computing allows application software to be operated using internet-enabled devices. Clouds can be classified as public, private, and hybrid.“ (1). The term "moving to cloud" also refers to an organization moving away from a traditional CAPEX model (buy the dedicated hardware and depreciate it over a period of time) to the OPEX model (use a shared cloud infrastructure and pay as one uses it). (2)
Carl Bass, president and CEO of Autodesk, said that technology vendors have been accused of “cloud washing,” or misusing the phrase to describe older product lines. “I didn’t think the term helped explain anything to people who didn’t already know what it is“. Reuven Cohen, cofounder of Cloud Camp, said that “it’s a rebranding of the Internet, (…) and it’s worth money” (3)
The term cloud computing seems to publicly appear in the years 2006-2007, but we know it has already been used many years before by several engineers to describe a network centric system architecture. We even could rebrand the early mainframe computers (back to the 1950’s) accessed by terminals, sharing CPU time, as cloud computing. By mid-2008, Gartner observed that "organizations are switching from company-owned hardware and software assets to per-use service-based models" (4). Finally, Oracle offered in 2012 integrated cloud services including the application (Saas), the platform (PaaS) and the infrastructure (Iaas).
Business Claims and Promises
So what's in for you. Save time and money? Yes, to be true. But not under any condition. Let's see the facts
|#||Claims & Promises||Fact|
|1||Avoid upfront infrastructure costs||Every step in the project raises technical and security issues that must be addressed to prevent serious vulnerabilities. Even for private clouds, many businesses say they are avoiding the cloud because they aren’t fully confident about its security and reliability.|
|2||Get the applications up and running faster||The move to a cloud-computing dominated IT is a slow and steady process that is still in its early days.|
|3||Improve manageability and less maintenance||Let’s hope that the cloud providers do their job proper.|
|4||Rapidly adjust resources to meet fluctuating and unpredictable business demand||The "pay as you go" model can lead to unexpectedly high charges|
Cloud computing is the evolution and combination of similar concepts like client/server computing; application service providing (do you remember? It was once also called outsourcing); grid computing (clustering); mainframe computing (sharing computer power); thin client computing. But its strength comes up when utilizing multiple pre-fabricated services with a certain level of technical convenience.
Being able to choose from a bunch of offerings, it needs a cloud expert supporting you to select the best service offer and especially integrating your own IT legacy environment. I can only advise you what has been said over and over again: make it right from the start and don't forget - better to spend a bit more money and making the right decisions rather than trying to correct mistakes later.
Unlike in the past, where you had a hard time to explain what the Internet or later Bitcoin was – unless you saw it – cloud computing is simple to understand, especially because your are using it already even without noticing it. As the clouds are gaining in volume, lets hope for no rain to come (but – in case of - after the rain there’s always sunshine).
(1) Hassan, Qusay (2011). "Demystifying Cloud Computing" (PDF). The Journal of Defense Software Engineering (CrossTalk) 2011 (Jan/Feb): 16–21. Retrieved 11 December 2014
(2) Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing
(3) Regalado, Antonio (2011). “Who Coined 'Cloud Computing'?”, www.technologyreview.com
(4) Gartner (2008-08-18). "Gartner Says Worldwide IT Spending On Pace to Surpass Trillion in 2008"