Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Thoughts on what is Cloud Computing? (Part 1)

Cloud Computing is gaining a lot of publicity. I have attended a few myself. But up to now even if you gather the experts on this, even the definition is abstract. Maybe one of the best way is to ask a question and try to answer it

So what is Cloud Computing?
  • Cloud Computing can be referred to as IT as a service. In the same way, a utility company delivers electricity for the end users for their specific and unique consumption, the challenge is whether Cloud Computing can deliver cheaper, faster, superior user experiences.

What are the essential components of Cloud?
  • Service Catalogue - From my limited understanding, Service catalogue is the standardised IT offering you are offering to the customers. Maybe it is just some virtualised infrastructure for development, maybe it is a development environment like Hadoop, or even maybe it is even a Windows environment inside for an application requirement....
  • Automation - By automation, what I meant was the ability to auto-provisioned by users for the standardised environment they require. In other words, there is some sort like a self-service portal where the users can select their choices from. Another essential atribute of automation comes in the form of workload analysis. The ability of the Cloud Computing infrastructure to meet the demand based on the workload analysis
  • Virtualisation - Virtualisation is very essential as many image format of the computing environment or the service catalogue can be kept efficiently. It is also a mean where the image can be deployed very quickly and the environment consistently kept for the particular user. Bare-metal provisioning is not impossible for the Cloud Environment, it is just less efficient and more time consuming as the nodes have to be reformatted with the OS and the image. Of course you can dual-boot or triple-boot. If your number of images are small or have very standardised user base, it is still manageable.

What are the catalysts pushing industry to Cloud Computing?
  • I think the current IT infrastructure limitation will gets more and more glaring as the explosion of services and data are harder to manage in a distributed environment. On average, about 85% of a compute resource remain idle. This is definitely not the best use of resources.
  • Another is the amount of budget spent on maintaining instead of adding new capabilities is another "push" factor. With a consolidated environment, cost will definitely be more managed.
  • I guess the last catalyst will be is the rising perception of the users. IT services is going to be just a utility. IT is so pervasive now like electricity. If you check in a hotel and there is no Internet, it is perceived as very out-of-touch. Rising expectation will definitely put demands on IT resources and yet the need to be flexible to provision with peak and trough of computing demands. This is the impetus given to the Cloud

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