Tom Olzak

Cloud Computing: Making the Right Choices

In Business Continuity, Cloud Computing, Risk Management, Security Management on April 15, 2009 at 13:28
Cloud computing is getting a lot of press these days, including excessive FUD. However, selecting a cloud solution for critical business applications is an exercise in educating yourself, asking the right questions, and making an informed decision. In other words, deciding whether to use a cloud solution and which vendor to use is no different than any other decision we make every day.

What is Cloud Computing?

Before we jump into how, it’s important to understand what. What is meant when someone talks about cloud computing? Since there are various definitions, perceptions really, of what cloud computing is, I want to make sure we’re all speaking the same language.
First, the term cloud refers to the Internet as typically represented by a cloud in network diagrams. It includes the infrastructure and applications available for use by subscribing organizations. It’s like a black box. An organization connects and drives critical business processes using applications and infrastructure it doesn’t see or manage. Data is input and data comes out. The rest is the vendor’s responsibility.
So we have part of the cloud computing definition. One article I read described cloud computing as client-server computing, but with the servers in the cloud. But, using cloud services to run your business involves more than just transitioning responsibility for system management to a third party.
The definition I like best is provided in the Open Cloud Manifesto. 
“The key characteristics of the cloud are the ability to scale and provision computing power dynamically in a cost efficient way and the ability of the consumer (end user, organization, or IT staff) to make the most of that power without having to manage the underlying complexity of the technology. The cloud architecture itself can be private (hosted within an organization’s firewall) or public (hosted on the Internet).
Source: Open Cloud Manifesto, 2009

Benefits of Cloud Computing

If there were no business benefits to cloud computing, there would be no reason to change the way we do things today, standing up a new set of infrastructure and servers for every new solution. This is followed by monitoring and maintenance, hoping we sized the hardware correctly for peak loads. However, there are several benefits to cloud computing which promise to make our lives easier from both performance and continuity perspectives.
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