By: Manu Sinha, Principal Architect, GlobalLogic
The Cloud is among the most misunderstood terminologies in the world today. You have SaaS (Software as a Service), IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service), and even mBaaS (Mobile Backend as a Service) and many other versions of –aaS available today. But what is it really and how can you leverage it in your business.
The general meaning of the term Cloud Computing is to deliver hosted services on the Internet. The main aim is to consume computing resources like a utility (electricity, water etc.) and we judge the cloudiness of a cloud by four essential characteristics
How quickly can I provision a new computing resource into my area of control – called Provisioning
Dynamic creation and destruction of computing resources based on usage – called Elasticity
Enable Users and Devices to interact with your business regardless of the location or device they are currently using – called Location Independence
Cloud systems also control and optimize resource use by leveraging a metering capability at some abstraction level, providing transparency to the cloud tenant – called Metered Servicing
A couple of years ago, I had gone to a cloud conference, and a CIO from one of the top online travel companies, announced that they are now on the cloud. When asked how long it takes for them to provision a VM (virtual machine), he very proudly said “ 8 hrs”. There were titters and outright laughter from the audience. In today’s world, VMs are provisioned within seconds and is only limited by the start up time and setting up of the image, both of which are extremely fast. When looking for a cloud partner, do understand their self-provisioning times, the time it takes for you to go into their admin panel, and create a new VM for your use.
This is about cost. One should only pay for what one is using. Indian ecommerce shops despite having one tenth of the traffic of an AliBaba, still cant provide a great computing experience where the user doesn’t have to suffer when shopping during peak hours. That’s because Indian Ecommerce shops have not embraced the cloud. Sure they are on the cloud, but are they truly cloudy? Do they use cloud architecture patterns that provide elasticity, scalability and high availability as part of their architecture? They don’t, and hence our bitter sweet experience with them.
The main aim for this is for the distributed computing resources to be completely anonymous and opaque to the user, who already does not care as to which resource they need to access to get the best experience. The way to achieve this to be completely stateless with a clear Separation of Concerns for components and the architecture should support micro-services type of model.
One of the primary reasons for going cloud is for a business to save cost. To ensure optimum cost saving to is to pay only for what is being used. Cloud platforms such as Amazon and Azure (the top two by a wide margin) handle this very well.
The cloud can become a rainmaker for your business as long as you keep these basics in hand. If you have stateful applications, or have tightly coupled components, would you be able to utilize the cloud well? Going to the cloud is very tightly coupled with your product and business, and not just something that your IT infrastructure team does, but something that requires careful thought and planning across multiple departments in the company.