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Reality settling in for cloud boosters

James Urquhart has a thoughtful post on his blog: Cracks in the Clouds, but the Sky Ain’t Fallin’

This last couple of weeks have been filled with challenges to those preaching the gospel of cloud computing. First it was a paper delivered by three Microsoft researchers describing in detail the advantages of small, geo-diverse, distributed data center designs over “mega-datacenters”, a true blow to the strategy of many a cloud provider and–frankly–large enterprise. Second, the Wall Street Journal published a direct indictment of the term, cloud computing, in which Ben Worthen carefully explains how the term ended up well beyond the boundaries of meaning. Added to the dog pile was Larry Elison’s apparently delightful rant about the meaninglessness of the term, and an apparent quote where he doubts the business model of providing capacity at scale for less than a customer could do it on their own.

Heh…I covered Ellison’s rant. I like when rich, powerful people act like curmudgeons.  Urquhart affirms that there are real difficulties ahead, and talks about some of them, but ends up firmly in the very reasonable middle between the pro- and anti-cloud camps

That last statement is where I part ways with the critics. Cloud computing–all of it, public and private–will be disruptive to the way IT departments acquire and allocate compute functionality and capacity. To me, this statement is true whether or not it turns out that it would be better to build 500 small, manageable, container based data centers than 5 megaliths.

…Even if it never makes sense for a single Fortune 500 company to shut down all of their data centers, there will be a permanent change to the way IT operations are run–a change focused at optimizing the use of hardware to meet increasing service demands.

I agree with that. It’s a good post, well worth your time to read.

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