6 misconceptions of infrastructure-as-a-service computing
By John Landau, Tata Communications 21-May-2012
Companies have progressed beyond the initial euphoria about cloud into experimenting with some form of cloud in their IT portfolio. This has been accompanied by concerns about potential teething troubles that have been reported in the media about this powerful transformation for IT. Many of the perceived problems have been caused by misconceptions about cloud computing. Here are six of the most common myths about infrastructure-as-a-service cloud computing:
Myth #1: Cloud is too complex
The biggest misconception about cloud computing is to think there is magic to it. There isn't; it's just a great industrial approach to computing. With a public infrastructure-as-a-service cloud offering, customers have the same secure, industrial-grade platform, whether they are large companies or a three-man company. They can get on-demand solid robust servers, storage, and networking. Public cloud companies have more agility to put up and scale up services that are available as and when they need them, working on what really differentiates their business.
A public cloud IaaS is a standard, off-the-shelf computing platform. Because it is standard, it limits the options at the compute infrastructure level, but it really takes off a lot of extra bother.
Myth #2: We're all on the same page about what the cloud can do
"[P]utting an application onto servers in the public cloud will work, but proper architecture, design and testing is needed."
-- John Landau, SVP, tech & services evolution, Tata Communications
To ensure success, make sure everyone has the right expectations about the type of cloud computing being considered, whether it is infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS). It is important to understand the capabilities and the limitations of the specific cloud computing service you might buy. Companies need to be clear about which capabilities are included, and which are excluded.
Look for a cloud provider with a free trial so a realistic evaluation of the available services and offering can be easily accomplished. For any IaaS cloud computing, it is the application integrator and operator's responsibility to know the architectural advantages and limitations of the specific server-storage-network-security platform you will use.
Myth #3: Cloud providers are obliged to help when I encounter problems
Yes and no. Providers for different types of cloud services provide different types of support. An infrastructure-as-a-service which offers server, network, storage, and security services would include help on how to use these infrastructure services as a platform, but the IaaS offer would not include services to integrate and operate a particular application.
Not all providers are equal, either. Some offers a 24/7 helpdesk with live support, whereas others may only have email support, or a blog.
Myth #4: I'll just put the application on cloud and it'll work
Whether the servers are in the cloud or a corporate data center, integrating and deploying applications means working through good, solid disciplined IT processes. If everything is done systematically, with review points at key stages, there is a high chance of success. Sandboxes can be created in the cloud for multiple cycles of evaluation, including scaling up, running load tests, and using real people and real life situations in a pilot.
In any server environment, the application integration architecture and design can result in suboptimal performance, reliability, and security; it may be the result of a poorly configured operating system or application. So, yes, putting an application onto servers in the public cloud will work, but proper architecture, design and testing is needed. A corollary of this, is that, not every application is well-suited for a public cloud.