But of course, it's not all about bandwidth, either. I had a discussion with Matt Stevens, CTO of Apparent Networks, a cloud performance management vendor. We talked about end to end performance regarding geography and latency. He said, "it goes back to the speed of light: distance, latency, and data loss become very, very important when you don't have your own data center. You can throw infinite bandwidth at it, but the speed of light kicks in, and you're going to hit a physical speed of light limitation that's far lower than you think you've provisioned into your network."
Imad Mouline, CTO of Gomez, another web performance management vendor, points out that expectations are also important. "If what you're interested in is the elasticity of cloud, shouldn't your SLA cover that?" Absolutely. The ability to scale up without massive capex can be a key driver in the decision to use cloud computing facilities. If you're not getting it, and that's why you adopted cloud, we call that #massivefail.
I have written elsewhere of my dislike for one-size-fits-all metrics that don't represent the goals of the project or service. That dislike goes double for cloud.
So the quest, then, is to take an approach that links the desired outcomes and limiting factors of cloud with successful IT service strategies. The core principles of IT service success -- stewardship, customer service, partnership, fiscal responsibility, risk management -- remain the same. How to bring these principles to bear and still stay relevant to the emerging technology is the subject of our February 15 report on cloud SLAs. Stay tuned.