Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Pros or Promises and Cons of Public Cloud Deployment Model

Day by day, more and more organizations, business leaders, architects and team leaders are realizing the true value of disruptive innovation known as Cloud Computing and also coming to terms with the realities of the Public Cloud deployment model. Gone are the days when Cloud environments were merely considered on the basis of cost benefits; multiple parameters are used to consider the specific Cloud Deployment Models whether the specific deployment model is Best-Fit or not according to specific application requirements. Today we will look into pros and cons or promises and hypes of Public Cloud Deployment Model.

· Faster Time to Market:It is easy to create development and test environment; reusability enables users to produce production like environments within minutes using pre-build templates. It is very easy to scale up and scale down with flexible cost model.

· On Demand Resources:Resources (Compute, Storage, Network and other services) are provided on demand to meet fluctuating demands and to control the cost.

· Scalability: By utilizing public cloud, IT staff can quickly meet changing user loads for peak loads.

· Agility:Agility is the main business driver behind Public Cloud adoption. Resource provisioning time is very less even lesser than a minute. Pre-built templates are more useful to have a system with all installed components within a minute. Due to on demand resource provisioning, it is easy to scale up and down with speed.

· Cost Benefits: Cloud is a best option to sail smoothly in tight economy with limited budgets and dynamic market environment. No need for up-front investment in resources which results into "Zero CapEx".

· Minimize OpEx: Pre built services such as governance, management, security, information security, user management and implementation of best practices ensures less cost. Resource maintenance is handled by Cloud Service Provider.

· Economies of Scale: It refers to the cost-benefits organizations obtain due to the bulk of resources. In Public Cloud context, Cloud Service Providers and have huge amount of resources and because of it, cost advantages is transferred to all customers using those Cloud services.

· Pay-as-you-go Model: Only pay for what you use; as we do in monthly electricity bills.

· Scope of innovation: Considering Pareto principle, traditional ratio where 80% of focus is on resource acquit ion, capital expenditure and other activities while only 20% focus on core business processes. Cloud Computing helps to spin the ratio and gives IT departments the ability to spend 80% of their time on core business processes which opens up different doors of innovation.

· Competitive Advantage: Organization's ability to speed up development and testing at lower cost than the competitor organizations creates various opportunities. Innovations also provide huge competitive advantage.

· Green Computing:Need for energy and the processing effectiveness has become the center point of debates in organizations recently. Computing must be environmentally sustainable. Cloud computing naturally leads to energy-efficiency by providing economy of scale, improved utilization of the resources, and efficient resource management.

· Easy access to the resources such as compute, storage, and network.

· High Performance computing accessible to SMBs: Pay as you Go model, on demand resources, and Zero CapEx model enables various SMBs to use high performance computing considering the acquisition cost for the HPC resources in traditional environment.

· Proven best practices for better application architecture: Cloud Computing is not new; it has been used in practice from last few years and experiences with the usages of it has resulted into various best practices and robust application architecture to gain high availability.

· Fault tolerance: Various Cloud service providers implement fault tolerant mechanism to predict the failures and take action before the failure take place to maintain high availability.

· Skill Management: Organizations tends to conduct the data regarding expertise of various skills of all employees after each year to manage the resources and processes in efficient manner. Public Cloud services can be used with this data to provide better and quick insight into the skills of employees which can lead to better management of people and processes.

· Security and Compliance: To ensure the security of potentially sensitive information which traverses the cloud and to fulfil various compliance requirements in Cloud environment which requires different approach than a traditional approach due to basic features of Cloud is the biggest challenge at the time of Cloud adoption. The fact that rules and regulations were not made considering Cloud environments where various dynamics such as virtualization, multi-tenancy, laws, and regulations changes the perspectives as per the type of Cloud Deployment Model also provide different perspective. Some example of Compliances which can be met in Cloud environments are HIPPA, PCI DSS etc.

· Reliability: Single Point Failure: Reliability of Cloud services has been pretty good but outages in recent times have raised lot of eyebrows on the reliability of Cloud services even though they provide 99.95% uptime availability.

· Availability: Most of the Cloud Providers claim to provide 99.95% uptime availability but in case of failure, the only option for the customer is to wait and watch.

· Performance: Response time may vary in various Cloud environments. Different Cloud services such as databases and others have different response time and it also differs as per Cloud service providers and measures taken by them to improve the performance. Due to various issues faced by organizations in public cloud adoption, Private Clouds are gaining more popularity specifically for getting better performance in Cloud environment.

· Vendor Lock in: Changing the Cloud service providers is a huge challenge considering the customizations adopted due to usage of proprietary services or technologies offered by service providers at various layers of applications while migrating to specific Public Cloud. Common standards can help in the cause but how successful they are in the initiatives is still a question to ponder upon.

· Loss of Governance:Control is with Cloud service provider; customers need to be dependent on various things such as compliance requirements, security related aspects. In case of service outage, customers have no control on the activities and need to wait until Cloud service provider fixes the issues and services are available again.

· Data Security:It is a huge challenge to maintain confidentiality, integrity and availability of information. It is very important to secure data at transit and data at rest.

· Law restrictions:Data may be stored at multiple locations in Cloud and if any country has specific regulations considering location of data then it is difficult to comply with it.

· Cost of security measures: At different level such as virtualization layer, network layer etc., different mitigation controls can be applied to secure Cloud environment which may cost heavily.

· Variable cost: Pay as you go model attracts lots of organization but cost structure of Cloud resources are subject to change and it varies from provider to provider.

· No clarity on cost aspect in customers: Though various Cost calculator provided by AWS and PlanForCloud helps but still it is complex to understand how it is calculated.

· Dependency on Internet connection: In Public Cloud, IT resources are accessed using the Internet hence it requires constant connection.

· Integration with in House IT: Most of the IT organizations have invested lot of money in IT infrastructure over the years; considering benefits offered by Public Clouds, organizations are inclined to use Public Clouds but integration with Private Clouds or On premise IT resources is a complex task.

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