back to article Future of the cloud is hybrid

Unless hosting is your business, it is unlikely that the premises your organisation occupies was chosen with its use as a data centre in mind. Far more likely, space was carved out of the premises, bringing issues of power, cooling and square footage to the forefront when adding new equipment. For small to medium enterprises ( …


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  1. Gareth Gouldstone


    Like we were EVER going to put everything on the fluff (sorry, Cloud).

    As per, use what is appropriate, where it is appropriate, when it is appropriate.

  2. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    I'm shocked! Shocked I tell you.

    Someone is actually making sense when talking about networks.

  3. Gary F

    It's NOT the cloud

    Can everyone stop calling the Internet the cloud? It's just the Internet. "The cloud" is a marketing term dreamed up by someone who wanted to make the Internet sound more mysterious or powerful.

  4. Pperson

    Headless chicken?

    It seems to me that *nobody* knows where this cloud thing is going - even the vendors don't really have much to say beyond "we have huge data processing centres: we found them useful so we'd like to make some more money and get you to use them too". And the only reason to use them is vague promises of cost reductions, but nothing *real* in terms of improved systems or more efficient development. I'm sure clouds have actual value-adding potential rather than merely an excuse to cut IT staff, but it doesn't look like anybody has much clue how to do it (or perhaps more accurately, how to make a fat profit off of it).

    Re: Gary F and cloud vs Internet: it's an evolution of the Internet that has come about due to widespread broadband availability allowing people to use it like an extended LAN. And it's also a marketing buzzword unfortunately.

    1. Gary F

      I hear what you're saying

      But it's still the Internet. When people first upgraded from a 56K modem to 1Mb broadband and found they could share documents in seconds and audio/video in minutes rather than hours it was still called the Internet. When people first started buying stuff online it was still called the Internet. No need for a name change there. When new companies were launched and lived purely online providing new services it was still called the Internet.

      If people can remember foremost that it's the Internet and not the cloud then maybe they'd take security more seriously. People and companies should not lose sight of that. Marketing people calling it the cloud make it sound fluffy and safe. It's as misleading as having an alligator and calling it a pet. Treat it like one and one day it'll take your arm off.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        @Gary F

        It you want to get pedantic about nomenclature, then I really should point out that there *is* no “internet.” It isn’t a defined thing, nor a place. The “internet” is “a series of individual local networks that are INTER-NETworked into a larger network.” By definition, the instant you connect to physically disparate networks to each other, you have created an internet.

        Beyond that bit of pedantry, “the cloud” has been a networking metaphor for “the internet” for quite some time. It was a reference to “a black box into which we fling packets.” You would draw a line to a cloud essentially indicating you did not care what the infrastructure was that got your packets from A to B: that was someone else’s problem.

        Today, this metaphor has been extended beyond packets and to entire IT services. I don’t honestly believe the term is thusly misused. Computers have become far more than the sum of their parts these days. Few people think of the individual hard drive, that stores that one bit or the southbridge that delivers it to the CPU. People think of “email” as a service, not as a series of bits, opcodes and packets.

        So the use of “the cloud” to refer to “managed or clustered services wherein the fundamental architecture is obfuscated (because it is someone else’s job to care about that)” is perfectly valid. It is an extension of the original networking “cloud” metaphor that is perfectly in line with the evolution of IT service delivery over the past decade.

        What gets me are people who forget that “the internet” consists of far more than “the web” and its associated services. There are dozens of protocols that shuffle bits from place to place that have nothing to do with HTTP, FTP or whatever flavour of instant messenger “da yoof” are using today.

        Heck, there is quite a bit of traffic on “the internet” that isn’t even TCP/IP! When you remember that, maybe this “cloud” thing will bother you less. “The cloud” is a metaphor for obfuscated IT service delivery. It is a part of the internet, as much as the web, IRC, or usenet. It is distinct from other parts of the internet, yet can be the underpinning behind them all.

        1. Gary F


          I was using gopher before the web (or should I say HTTP) was invented so I'm aware of the many protocols carried over the Internet. I appreciate that a cloud has been used for as long as I can remember to represent networks in topology diagrams. But the public network between our computers and this website is called the Internet with a capital "I". It's had this name for decades and doesn't need to be renamed "The Cloud" because marketing people think it makes their Internet based services sound more cutting edge. It's a recent trend and hopefully like some other fashions will be short lived. (But I'm not holding my breath on this one!)

  5. Matthew Malthouse

    yeah but yeah but...

    "true hybrid cloud systems will enable applications to be launched first in the cloud and then migrated internally when the server refresh gives you more local processing power to work with."

    Once working in the cloud that's where it will stay.

    The only thing that would persuade PHBs to bring it back in would be real identifiable cost savings, something very difficult to arrange. Especially persuading the PHB with CapX to spend money so the PHB with OpX can save some.

    The next server refresh will result in less not more processing power.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      @Matthew Malthouse

      I would suggest at that point that your PHBs should take some night courses. I recommend risk management as a place to start. Managerial accounting - with a focus on the concept of "false economy" - would be my next recommendation. It could save the company a lot of money, and the PHBs a lot of embarrassment.

      For every individual who says information should "stay" in the cloud I have two critical questions:

      1) How much per hour does loss of access to that service cost you?

      2) Does that IT service contain any information that would damage your business - or expose it to legal liability if the information were compromised?

      The more vital the service, or confidential the information, the better the case for hosting it in house. Some services can be tossed in the public cloud “forever.” Others…well, there are strong arguments against that.

      Before the hosted cloud can ever take off, hosting in the cloud needs to provide people with "warm fuzzies." No matter how many studies come out that "prove" that the hosted cloud offers superior security to the local cloud, /everyone/ prefers to have someone to flog when something goes pear shaped.

      Take a look at modern cloud providers; they present a very narrow flogging profile to the customer. Hosted cloud providers have their own risk management experts; they try very hard to ensure that they take on zero risk when hosting another company’s information. SLAs that actually mean something are stupendously expensive…in the rare instances they exist at all. For most people, that simply won’t do.

      Since hosted providers don’t seem to “get it,” only the most uneducated of management would trust to the hosted cloud services the loss of which would present a truly negative impact to the business.

      If you’re a consultancy, or other non-retail/non-real-time organisation, then the loss of your accounting package for a day or two probably isn’t the end of the world. You can use paper backups, and enter the information back into the system when it comes back online. If you are a company that requires access to those systems for every single operating hour in order to make a sale to your customers, then you are losing money for each minute it is unavailable.

      If you are The Register, wherein you don’t collect a lot of personally identifiable information on your customers, then the loss of customer information isn’t the end of the world. Embarrassing yes, but a very low risk of legal ramifications. If on the other hand you are the aforementioned retail shop, you likely collect and store credit cards for your regular customers…the loss of that information could have catastrophic legal ramifications.

      So I argue then that which aspect of the cloud (hosted, private or hybrid) matters to an organisation can never be dictated externally. The hosted cloud isn’t for everyone, and neither is the private cloud. I do however suspect that the hybrid cloud – a combination of hosted cloud services and carefully guarded local company services – will become the norm. I also think that as technologies and applications mature, moving services and data between the private and hosted clouds will become easier and far more commonplace than it is today.

      Personally, I don't think that any company with a server room of at least 5 servers will end up with less CPU cycles on the next refresh. They'll end up with the same (or more) locally, and buy some time from a hosted provider to boot.

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