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Economic Downturn Helps Drive Cloud Evolution
As providers evolve from traditional hosting they face a window of opportunity in the current, rather dismal, economic outlook
By: Douglas Gourlay
Dec. 7, 2008 03:35 AM
Douglas Gourlay's Blog
In periods of economic uncertainty, especially when the capital for large-scale build-outs may be hard to raise in the debt markets or at least much more expensive to raise people turn to look at other options that enable them to continue to meet end-user and business demands for IT services. Sometimes they need capacity, sometimes IT just needs the time to focus on new projects.
Enter Cloud Computing, or as we may describe it here, ‘Hosting Evolved’. The key benefits that I see to a cloud architecture from the client side are as follows:
The client-side negatives generally are in the area of data security and integrity and the perennial decision of whether to use any sort of hosted architecture for mission-critical or ‘core’ IT applications.
On the hosting provider side I would differentiate a cloud model from traditional hosting by using a software versus hardware corollary. Cloud COmputing depends on software provisioning, software defined workload containers, and software abstractions between physical and logical and from one tenant to another. Traditional hosting by contrast deploys separate physical hardware per customer- servers, network, storage, SLB, and security;, rarely shares resources between customers, and has a physical layer delay on the instantiation of a customer service.
As providers evolve from traditional hosting they may be facing a window of opportunity in the current, rather dismal, economic outlook. I always believe that these periods of economic malaise are the opportune time for the swift and bold to break into new markets or to transform themselves. There will be a set of customers in the enterprise looking to lower costs, defer capital or wait until they can raise it, and offload non-core IT processes. The question is will there be enough Service Providers there to support the increase in demand and do so in a scalable and operationally efficient fashion. A cloud computing architecture may provide this.
What do you see as the infrastructure change required to enable a traditional hosting provider to move from a physical hosting architecture to a more virtualized one? One with portable workload virtual machines, segmented from each other, and the ability to move workload within pods/containers/rows within the data center.
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