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back to article The public cloud ... why bother?

Given the amount of noise around cloud computing at the moment, the signal can be difficult to discern. One question that tends to be forgotten in the debate is – why should you bother? Is it just about the money, as some pundits would have you believe? Given that the public cloud is not going to be right for everything, when …

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Cloud....if I never hear the term again ....

Cloud....if I never hear the term again it will be too soon....

Mostly, Cloud services are renamed business models that have been around for a long time. How many people host their own web sites? How many have shunned their our email servers for an outsourced one? Who uses CRM applications like Salesforce?

But in essence these are services that successfully lend themselves to being delivered via the internet (yes I know that there are intra-cloud etc).

What we dont need is more pseudo analysis on this. There is a lot of cloud that doesnt lend itself to being "Cloud" and putting everything under the one term doesnt help anyone. I wish the term would just FRIGGING die and we can talk about the specific tasks we want to solve rather than bundle everything under the completely nebulous term "cloud".

But on this topic nothing more gets more on my nerve then people asking "what's our cloud strategy?" which to me translates to "how do we on get the latest bandwagon so I sound cool without understanding anything what im trying to solve?."

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Anonymous Coward

I think you mean...

Can someone define what cloud means - and everyone else stop blagging - so we can have a grown up discussion about how it might help me?

I see what you mean. But don't let marketing spoil it for you, I've been dreaming about cloud since those heady days of the NC. IT might actually get quite interesting again.

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Interesting until it goes pop

While I can see the benefit of letting someone else run your kit/services/kittens whatever, in their data centre(s) on their massively redundant 'cloud' computing resources, there are two things that stop me from wanting to even think about moving everything there.

Firstly, I suspect the majority of us (SMEs) are still using adsl. It doesn't scale well for off site data storage. These days reliability is great until something goes wrong. And when it goes wrong, and it does go wrong. It can take days to get fixed. Use the back up connection I hear you say? SMEs like to only pay for what they use and backup connections are seen as an expense for something rarely used. So the backup is usually dialup or a borrowed 3G dongle.

Secondly the provider themselves are open to problems. We've all seen big providers cock things up (Think Skype, Google/Gmail) and I have first hand experience of Plusnet deleting their mail storage array during a migration and the ensuing shit storm while they tried for a week to recover the data and admit that they didn't backup the array.

If anything we seem to be moving more critical systems in house and farming the smaller more task/industry specific stuff to providers. Perhaps that is a result of new servers costing less for more power (multiple cores and lots of disk/ram) that take less power (electricity) and cheap virtualisation allowing SMEs to have better disaster recovery.

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Time For Fluff? Me neither.

"The most exciting uses of cloud are the ones we haven’t thought of yet.” Really? That's helpful. And by "helpful" I mean "not helpful." What does that mean exactly? It's even more ambiguous than "the cloud" itself.

Try running that one by an overextended CIO and see how many exciting different flavors of chagrin pass over his or her face.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh, dear - my cloud supplier just went bust.

And where does commercial risk assessment come into this analysis?

It is really suggested that core IT functions are off loaded into the 'cloud' and existing IT departments are wound down?

So, when the cloud supplier, goes bust; has its assets seized; quadruples its rates - 'cos it can; has a monumental screw-up and drops its/your data on the carpet; [insert plausible disaster here] who's going to rescue your company.

Off-loading business critical services such as email, database or web services makes no commercial sense.

If management is about lists, then business is about data. Lose control of that and all those cents you 'save' will come back as dollars to bite you.

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Silver badge

Cloud = cuts?

Is it also just a way of 'making savings' as the beancounters don't have a bloody clue about in-house data services?

Don't understand it? - chop it out. In these days of tight . . .blah, blah blah (and get a healthy bonus for the saving).

On the other hand, as you suggest, 'all your data belong to us'.

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Anonymous Coward

Buzzwords

The term "Cloud Computing" makes me shudder simply because of the Buzzword storm (Heh) that accompanied it. I see they have improved now, but previously the Windows Azure website was so full of Buzzwords and marketing speak it was practically impossible to figure out what the hell it actually was.

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Anonymous Coward

Trust

Commercial risk and data security are definately the major factors.

Small and medium cloud service providers are in essence reselling managed hardware from a data centre provider with some VM software on it - in many cases the infrastructure isn't that great either. The long term goal seems to be sell it off in 5 years or less.

For the big companies amazon etc you really don't know who has access to your data, or what management 'innovation' is just round the corner that will require significant changes.

Not sure I can find someone I would really trust in the long term with something so important. "To the cloud.."

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but

One of the biggest issues (that is often conveniently overlooked) is that of connectivity. A decent connection to the internet is needed for SMBs to even think about cloud computing. Even our medium business (circa 200 PCs 3 servers) would not be able to go to the cloud simply because 4mb ADSL is the maximum speed we can get. fibre is a no go. An 8mb SDSL is more than the licence cost for all the PCs. ADSL just doesnt have the upload capability for that many users in the cloud.

No, I think i'll keep things in house for a little longer.

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T J
FAIL

SaaS doesn't work.

SaaS doesn't work. It never did. Any questions?

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Stop

Yes, one big question

Have you ever tried it?

We run our SMB on SaaS solutions, 120 users. The only apps we have installed are office. We have no problems. In fact, it's given us a significant advantage over our competitors because we have what is effectively enterprise class functionality whilst they struggle to run their business from spreadsheets.

It works great if you use it right.

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Stop

Actually Larry said it quiet well....

To quote Oracle's Larry Ellison:

"The interesting thing about cloud computing is that we've redefined cloud computing to include everything that we already do. I can't think of anything that isn't cloud computing with all of these announcements. The computer industry is the only industry that is more fashion-driven than women's fashion. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I have no idea what anyone is talking about. What is it? It's complete gibberish. It's insane. When is this idiocy going to stop?

"We'll make cloud computing announcements. I'm not going to fight this thing. But I don't understand what we would do differently in the light of cloud."

Also, one of the few times I agree with Richard Stallman when he said:

"It's stupidity. It's worse than stupidity: it's a marketing hype campaign."

Lastly of course we really couldnt have a more rounded analysis of Cloud computing if we didnt quote Raul Castro when he said:

"Cloud Computing is for capitalist pigs."

..... somethings you just cant make up .... lol

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FAIL

@SaaS doesn't work. #

"SaaS doesn't work. It never did. Any questions?"

Really? Look at applications like Salesforce. Works incredibly well if you ask me. Most web hosting companies seem ok. Gmail / Hotmail seems to get used by a few people. You could argue pros and cons, but one thing for sure some SaaS are successful.

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Joke

Oh... how could I forget Dilbert...

http://dilbert.com/strips/comic/2011-01-07/

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