Cloud
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1/12/2009
02:01 PM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
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Not All Apps Are Fit for the Cloud

Cloud computing is on fire with "new technology" and "new approaches" that are really not much different than things we've been doing for the past 30 years... However, in moving to cloud computing, it's also clear that not all information systems are good candidates to run in the clouds. Here are a few things to consider:

Cloud computing is on fire with "new technology" and "new approaches" that are really not much different than things we've been doing for the past 30 years. While the shift is not that drastic, the excitement and movement in this new space is crazy-fast as businesses attempt to reduce the costs and risks of computing by leveraging shared and public resources.

However, in moving to cloud computing, it's also clear that not all information systems are good candidates to run in the clouds. Indeed, those charged with reducing costs and moving to a cloud computing platform are well advised to spend some time understanding their own systems before pushing them outside of the firewall, to sometimes disastrous results.

Here are a few things to consider:Security. While most public cloud computing resources have good security and breeches are not widely known, perhaps it's not a great idea to place very sensitive and proprietary information on public cloud computing resources just yet. As time progresses, security for cloud computing resources will get better, but for now it should be buyer, sorry, renter beware.

Criticality. Some applications that are not "bet-the-business" are fine for cloud computing resources now, however, there are those applications that have an immediate and negative effect if they are not functioning. Again, most cloud resources have down time stats that typically far exceed those of internal systems. However, the risk is that somebody else controls the platform, and thus they could shut you down at any given point for what they think is violation of their policies, some technical issue that requires you to wait in line to fix, or they just go out of business. Again, not that cloud computing is wrong for some applications. Perhaps those that are critical to your business should be self-maintained, at least for now.

Performance. If your applications are transitional and process intensive in nature, than perhaps it's a good idea to run them locally for now, especially if there is a lot of interaction between the users and the back-end systems. While cloud computing resources do indeed provide "good enough" processing power, if you have I/O-intensive applications or applications that require a large amount of data movement from the clients to the back-end systems, then perhaps cloud computing should not yet be on the menu.

With cloud computing the trick is not to follow the hype and the crowd, but to understand your own issues and applications first. From there you can make an educated call as to what applications make sense to outsource to a good cloud computing platform, and what applications to keep local. Keep in mind that this should be an evolving process, and you can always relocate applications as the cloud computing resources improve, and clearly they will.

Don't be afraid of cloud computing, but like anything with "new" and hype-driven approaches, be careful.Cloud computing is on fire with "new technology" and "new approaches" that are really not much different than things we've been doing for the past 30 years... However, in moving to cloud computing, it's also clear that not all information systems are good candidates to run in the clouds. Here are a few things to consider:

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