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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Death of the Sysadmin Redux. My post last week on "The Death of the Sysadmin" got a lot of attention. It was tweeted a bunch and even made "top news of the week" on CompTIA's resource site. What was really interesting on this subject at the conference was kicked off by a session on "orchestration." Orchestration refers to the coordinated delivery of disparate resources like processors, storage, and network to provide an integrated provisioning process, which can be delivered in minutes rather than days or weeks. One often hears vendors discuss how their products support orchestration as being the path forward for enterprises to "move to the cloud."

The session quickly outstripped this topic, however, and moved on to the administration/operations of large-scale cloud applications. Essentially, in the world of these types of apps, there are no separate efforts called "development" and "operations." The applications must be written to be dynamically scalable, and the operations characteristics needed to support that scalability must be built into the application from the beginning. Trying to retrofit those characteristics — or worse, trying to address operations manually — is impossible. The meme for this integration is "devops" (#devops is the twitter tag) and I predict this will become a much more prominent topic in the future. One hears so much about the "consumerization" of enterprise applications and the rise of big data; it's critical to understand the other items that accompany this transition in enterprise software applications. The biggest question about this is to what extent this transition will affect enterprise apps — that is, what percentage of enterprise apps in the future will be of such scale and load variability that devops will be necessary for them. Obviously, it won't be 100 percent — but it won't be 0 percent either. And if it's even 5 percent, that means that, as an enterprise, this new integrated discipline needs to become part of the future.

In summary, CloudConnect offered a ton of topics both stimulating and thought-provoking. For me, devops was the really interesting subject to take away — that and the understanding gap between users who expect IaaS providers to take responsibility for their applications and what IaaS providers actually assume responsibility for. Cloud computing supports and imposes vast changes to established methods of creating and delivering applications and, as the old saying goes, offers both opportunity and threat.

Bernard Golden is CEO of consulting firm HyperStratus, which specializes in virtualization, cloud computing and related issues. He is also the author of "Virtualization for Dummies," the best-selling book on virtualization to date.

Follow Bernard Golden on Twitter @bernardgolden. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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