Another day, another article about the much hyped “Cloud Computing” trend. Hopefully, there are a lot of discussions going on to put things in perspective. Some just asks if Amazon’s cloud differentiates itself from cheap hosting. As I said before, it all depends on the application and the cloud is maybe not the best solution for hosting. If you’re small, you simply don’t need the cloud; and if you’re big, (Amazon’s) low SLA is big downside for anyone trying to make anything serious and reliable.
Others just put last month’s McKinsey’s report in question, especially regarding costs. The savings you could get by using the cloud are not so clear. The best approach is surely to put priorities and to proceed step-by-step in the migration to the cloud.
On the other hand,we’ve got a new report from the university of Berkeley on Cloud computing. The document present the cloud just as an old idea becoming real (at last), as a natural evolution of “XaaS”, everything as a Service and marks the difference between the types of clouds: (virtual harware) Amazon’s EC2, (application) Google’s AppEngine and Microsoft’s Azure. They make an interesting comparison with programming languages, once again pointing out the importance of the application.
Globally, the document focus on flexibility and costs, claiming that Cloud computing is transforming CapEx in OpEx and that the costs (high for EC2) must be put in the balance with the risk of over/under provisioning (in a standard owned DC) as well as eventual the scaling down of your infrastructure.
It also highlights the obstacles for the Cloud, mainly: availability, lock-in, security and performance in general.
Finally, let me put a good word on Amazon which is making progress as they announced monitoring, auto scaling and elastic load balancing to EC2 to improve reliability and scalability. What’s more: they also introduce import and export for physical data transfer. Is this an answer to the vendor lock-in that was pointed out?