Amazon: Demystifies the myths of cloud computing
By Werner Vogels, Amazon 03-Aug-2010
There has been a lot of buzz about cloud computing. Almost every IT vendor claims to have some kind of product or service for the cloud. Some have even created terms like “private cloud” and “hybrid cloud” to add to the complexity. So, what is cloud computing and what does it mean for businesses, governments and organizations of all sizes?
|"You interact with those resources via the Internet, and you can grow and shrink capacity instantly without spending capital on them, so it feels like all the computing resources are in a cloud." |
-- Werner Vogels, CTO, Amazon
A simple way to explain cloud computing is that instead of buying, owning, and maintaining your own data centers or servers, you buy the compute power and storage services from third party infrastructure providers as you need the capacity and leave the management and maintenance of that infrastructure to them. You interact with those resources via the Internet, and you can grow and shrink capacity instantly without spending capital on them, so it feels like all the computing resources are in a cloud.
5 characteristics of cloud computing
For an offering to truly be “cloud computing”, it needs to have the following five characteristics:
1. No capital expenditure. You do not have to spend capital expenses on servers or data centers. You get to turn capital expense to variable expense, which is a huge advantage for companies that either do not have a lot of capital or those who simply do not want to tie capital to infrastructure.
2. Pay for what you use. There is no upfront fee, no contract or commitment. You only pay for what you actually consume and have the flexibilities to choose the pricing model that best meets your business requirement.
3. True elastic capacity. You can scale both up and down, and not sit on unneeded, excess capacity. Also, a cloud allows your applications and your business to seamlessly grow as quickly as you need. When you no longer need that capacity you can shed it just as quickly.
4. Fast time to market. You can move much more quickly with whatever projects you have. You can spin up large amounts of server capacity in minutes instead of waiting for days or weeks for capacity to be assigned to you.
5. Focus on your core competence. You can take scarce engineering resources and instead of applying them to running infrastructure which is undifferentiated for most companies, you can spend time on projects that add value to your customer offerings or areas that differentiate your business.
If one or more of the above benefits do not exist, then it is not really cloud computing.
Busting common myths
Now, there has been so much noise and skepticism about the cloud. Let’s cut through this noise and demystify a few of the common myths:
Myth #1 - Cloud isn’t secure. For any cloud provider, security is always the top priority. Most companies don’t have the luxury of dedicating resources on security. Cloud uses all the same security tactics and strategies that enterprise data centers have used for the last 30 years, and in fact invest a lot more. Companies found that when they put their infrastructure on cloud platform, their security actually improves.