Cloud computing, does the infrastructure really matter?

I’ve been reading this morning about whether cloud computing infrastructure matters. The answer is, yes it does (and no it doesn’t).

From the standpoint of insuring reliability, infrastructure does matter. The particular brand and hardware configuration of the cloud hosts are irrelevant, however, the support facilities of the data center hosting the cloud computing system are. Adequate primary and backup power design, network design, and cooling systems are all integral to the stable operation of any cloud computing system. It’s all the same as co-locating a server or leasing a dedicated server only more so, since the same power or infrastructure failure will affect a lot more customers and services in a cloud computing system.

It’s absolutely true that live migrating virtual machines between different hardware platforms can be problematic. The general fix for this is to shut down the virtual machine and restart it on the new platform so the virtual can see the changed hardware from the start rather than attempting to recognize it on the fly. In a situation where the virtual can’t be shut down, there should be two or more virtuals sharing the workload (if the workload is that critical, it should never be dependent on a single cloud virtual machine in the first place).

As the original article states, sometimes the workload may be dependent on specific features of the host CPU (ie Intel vs AMD). If the workload is that tied to a specific limited range of CPUs, there’s no way it should be in a public cloud anyways. That said, I suspect that many cloud providers, ourselves included, would be happy to spec and operate a private cloud with a specific hardware set for a special need.

Finally, there’s the issue of loss of performance from missing specific CPU features. In general, I think you’re going to see bigger performance variations from the cloud itself. Once again, if the workload is that sensitive, there’s no way it should be running on a public cloud.

This isn’t so much about the customer being able to get all the fine details about what hardware a particular cloud is running as it is knowing what NOT to shift to a public cloud. The fact is, some workloads are just not suitable to be run in a public cloud environment.

Call or email me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for information about our hybrid cloud product. Take advantage of the cost savings, flexibility, and high reliability of our cloud computing service and get all the power of a dedicated server for the workloads that really need it!


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