Cloud
Commentary
1/20/2009
10:46 AM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

So What's so Great (or Even New) About Cloud Computing?

Computing is a movie you may have seen years ago called "time sharing," which gave us the ability to share computing resources among many different users. In those days, many companies actually shared a single computer sitting in some data center... It's how I started my career, and most people in their 40s or older remember those days well. So, what's new or better this time around?

This seems to be the question coming from those who are looking at cloud computing and the value it can bring to the enterprise. Those who are deep into cloud computing already - typically vendors and consultants - are actually having trouble answering that question, and for good reason.

Truth be told, cloud computing is a movie you may have seen years ago called "time sharing," which gave us the ability to share computing resources among many different users. In those days, many companies actually shared a single computer sitting in some data center. Moreover, that computer was able to allocate and manage resources for each user and each application, and the user could request more computing time, or less, adjusting their use of the time-sharing service. It's how I started my career, and most people in their 40s or older remember those days well.So, what's new with cloud computing?

First is the ability to use components from different cloud resources and mix and match the solutions you're seeking. You're able to use storage-as-a-service from one provider, database-as-a-service from another, and even a complete application development-and-deployment platform from a third. This ability to leverage just the resources you need, as well as just the right amount, is a clear value of modern cloud computing.

Second is the commoditization of bandwidth, which lets enterprises use cloud computing resources as if they are local. You're able to use storage and runtime resources as if they exist within your data center, something that was difficult just a few years ago.

Finally, there's the availability of very cool cloud computing providers. While the architecture and the model of cloud computing is nothing new, there are innovative players with compelling services that are new. With cloud computing growing by leaps and bounds, better cloud computing services are being built and released continuously.

So there are some clear differences, but those who have been around for a while see some very familiar patterns. As we move forward with cloud computing, the idea is to use cloud computing as another tool in the shed that has the potential to make your enterprise architecture more cost effective and efficient.

As with any new (old) technology, cloud computing is not a silver bullet that you can shoot at every conceivable IT problem and expect good results. There is nothing here we've not dealt with before, thus it should not be that scary and we should understand the value.Computing is a movie you may have seen years ago called "time sharing," which gave us the ability to share computing resources among many different users. In those days, many companies actually shared a single computer sitting in some data center... It's how I started my career, and most people in their 40s or older remember those days well. So, what's new or better this time around?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
2014 Next-Gen WAN Survey
While 68% say demand for WAN bandwidth will increase, just 15% are in the process of bringing new services or more capacity online now. For 26%, cost is the problem. Enter vendors from Aryaka to Cisco to Pertino, all looking to use cloud to transform how IT delivers wide-area connectivity.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014
InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.