Cloudnomics: The Economics of Cloud Computing

As the general value proposition of cloud computing has bcome accepted there is an increased interest in cloud TCO. CIO.com's Bernard Golden discusses the economics of cloud computing and shares other notes from the CloudConnect conference.

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CloudClub PaaS. As an add-on to the main conference, on Tuesday night a CloudClub meeting was held. CloudClub is a monthly event held in the Bay Area for people involved in cloud computing companies. This month's event focused on PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service). Several of the presenters asserted that, long-term, PaaS is how people will use cloud computing. The first presenter, Mitch Garnaat, showed a number of forum postings from AWS from people who it was clear assumed that AWS would offer transparent application scaling with no effort required from the application developer. Just to be clear, AWS provides the resources to scale an application, but expects the application to arrange for the new resources to join the application. Consequently, according to these presenters, people will turn to PaaS providers, which do arrange for transparent scaling for applications written to their framework. The flip side to depending upon the platform provider for scalability is, of course, lock-in. As to the question about naive users expecting IaaS vendors to provide more services than they really do, there's no doubt. We recently interacted with a company that thought their admin costs would fall through the floor because AWS would take complete application responsibility for only 8.5 cents per hour. They were disappointed when they found out that AWS explicitly abjures that responsibility. I'm not 100 percent convinced on the "inevitable PaaS" question, though; however, I think Microsoft offers a pretty interesting play in this regard and deserves some respect for what it's delivering. We'll see.

10 Cloud Computing Companies to Watch

Standards. The most emotional session at the entire event was focused on standards. Unfortunately, I missed it while attending a session on government cloud computing. Charlie Babcock covered the session in his blog on InformationWeek. Apparently, the discussion got rather heated with a lot of heckling from the audience, with one attendee noting that Amazon was not represented on the panel and that the panelists were the "losers in the market." In discussions on the topic elsewhere I've heard people assert that standards are necessary to prevent fragmentation to the detriment of cloud computing adoption. My own position is that it's far too early to be discussing cloud computing standards — standards are appropriate when the innovation in an area has been wrung out and a platform for innovation in other areas needs to be put into place via a standard. Cloud computing is changing so rapidly that it's impossible to know what it's going to look like in a year, much less being able to maintain that the true innovation needs to be in some other part of the ecosystem. I won't go so far as to characterize the vendors calling for standards as "losers," but I will say that their position on the subject is likely to change as their offerings get into the marketplace and start getting traction. The one exception to my "too early for standards" position is OVF. This standard will be incredibly important as we move to a world in which data center boundaries are porous and workloads are migrated according to load and robustness needs.

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