I’ve just been reading about how the path to cloud computing is missing a few steps. I don’t think it’s cloud computing that’s missing the steps here.
The first thing that stands out here is that the government spent an entire year just defining cloud computing characteristics (and they’re not done yet!). I thought a lot of businesses were slow on this, by the time they get it defined, it will be time for the next thing (I saw a snail screaming by them). This is the fallacy of trying to come up with a simple, one line definition of cloud computing. There are the three main variations of cloud computing, SaaS, PaaS, IaaS and a plethora of of different minor variations in how the service is delivered and provisioned, all of which have strong points and weak points for different purposes.
SaaS and PaaS cloud computing variants take more work to implement, however, IaaS can certainly be “turned on overnight”, contrary to the Federal Cloud Computing Advisory Council, provided you don’t bury it in bureaucracy.
It is certainly an issue about data not being portable between SaaS and IaaS cloud computing services. Frankly, I can’t imagine who would want to try to mix data between SaaS apps and IaaS virtual machines. Not implementing the right place to start with is a gross planning failure. Some cloud usage lends itself to SaaS, other to IaaS. Understand the need and you won’t get trapped into trying to do a crazy migration.
There’s also the claim that it’s “tricky” to migrate static web sites to a cloud. Are you kidding me? Migrating a static web site is one of the easiest possible things you can do! With IaaS, it’s possible to exactly duplicate the functionality of almost any physical web server in a cloud computing virtual machine, upload the data, then as I wrote previously about extending the data center into the cloud, run both new and old side by side, finally removing the old. No special standards, no third party plugins, web server migration with zero risk and zero downtime, easy.
Finally, a lot of the issue seems to be confusion over what belongs in a public cloud and what doesn’t. Anyone that puts nuclear launch codes in a public cloud of any sort is insane. On the other hand, the email of the tenth assistant undersecretary in charge of whoopie cushions is probably not going to be an issue no matter where you put it. Bottom line for anyone looking to use cloud computing, there are certain things that don’t belong in a public cloud under any circumstances, period.
There are certainly valid issues, in some cases, that need to be worked out, as well as gaining a clear understanding what should NOT be in a public cloud, but as usual, the government proves that you can over complicate anything, even cloud computing.
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