The cloud! It’s such an attractive term that rolls off the tongue effortlessly. Part of its beauty is that it provides people with a simple concept they can grasp without them having to comprehend any of the technical details. But some can be a bit too literal. Case in point: my wife’s hairdresser would sometimes look up to the sky for the cloud that kept his iPhone working. He knew it was up there but he just couldn’t quite point it out.
But a bigger problem with the cloud concept from an enterprise standpoint is that it can sometimes give rise to some sloppy thinking – a cloud is a cloud is a cloud, some people think. Nothing could be further from the truth.
For one thing there are public, private and hybrid cloud models. In the public cloud arena, there are all manner of services, price points and levels of quality available. Just ask any frequent user of public cloud services and they are likely to extol the virtues of one provider and lambast another.
Similarly, hybrid and private cloud models are anything but all the same. Just as every business is unique, the clouds built to support them differ markedly one to another. Anyone coming along with a cookie cutter approach to cloud provisioning is not likely to satisfy the needs of the business. Each and every enterprise cloud has to be customised to the specific requirements, business processes and culture of that organisation.
The good news is that the technology has very much moved into the mainstream.
“Cloud models have matured and cloud solutions are more compelling than ever,” said Frost and Sullivan analyst Elka Popova.
Frost and Sullivan surveys indicate that four out of five businesses now are willing to trust the cloud to run critical applications. They find that it eliminates the hassle of integrating multi-vendor products and solutions, provides flexibility at times of rapid growth or downsizing, and allows them to support a more dispersed workforce.
Popova added that the reasons why so many are moving to the cloud are that their budgets favour OPEX over CAPEX, it is easy to use, it makes Disaster Recovery (DR) more affordable, reduces total cost of ownership and is fast to deploy. She noted how different one cloud solution was to another by highlighting the criteria these businesses used when selecting a cloud provider. Top of the list is security, closely followed by reliability then price, reputation, feature set and scalability. She made it clear that those who paid closest attention to vendor capabilities in these areas achieved the greatest success with their cloud initiatives.
Real clouds are far from identical. There are cirrus, cumulus, cumulonimbus, and stratus to name a few. And within those categories, each and every cloud has features that set it apart from others. Similarly, enterprise hybrid and private clouds have to be customised to the unique requirements of the business.
Ballard Chalmers has long experience in bespoke cloud migration, development and integration. We build cloud applications that are secure, reliable, affordable, feature rich, scalable and exactly tailored to your environment.
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By Drew Robb, Contributor
Drew Robb is a freelance editor and writer, specialising in the Information Technology sector.