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Michael Petrov
Co-Founder, CEO
5/22/2012
Making Sense of Cloud.

Back in August 2011, Gartner stated at their Summit in Sydney ... " by 2016, 20 per cent of all business organisation’s IT will be purely Cloud-based was put to delegates and a panel of IT gurus. Roughly 70 per cent of an audience of around 250 agreed with the prediction. Here’s some of what the panel had to say."....
 http://www.cio.com.au/article/396899/compromise_likely_cloud_computing/

It is funny that an organization that pretends to be an IT expert is more marketing/sales and much less technology/engineering driven. As a reputable IT publication they should be ashamed of such broad and loose statements. They really sound to me like "New Generation Chooses Pepsi!!!".
 
Cloud-Based is such an overused and misused term that nobody really knows what it is. Let’s get back to engineering and try to make some sense out of what was said.
 
-    All new IT initiatives including Cloud-based infrastructures are based on virtualization technology.

Virtualization technology allows the use of power from one physical computer to be divided by multiple logical virtual computers. So in a simple case you can have one IT division take care of the hardware level with the virtualization platform, while another division can concentrate on applications that run in virtual servers; totally abstract from the physical design.
 
Therefore, IT can do it on its own or TRUST someone like Amazon Cloud or anybody else to provide the hardware platform for your application hosting virtual servers. The keyword here is TRUST. If you trust someone to run your virtual instances inside their infrastructures it means you are going into a SHARED physical processing environment.
 
By nature, Digital Edge provides services to Enterprise class IT organizations and their mission critical business services. One of the biggest concerns for these Enterprise organizations is the control of RISK; And today it is just not feasible to manage risk in shared cloud environments. I agree that a lot of small non-mission critical businesses will find public clouds very appealing. But for serious mission critical services it is not acceptable.
 
Here are 3 BIG problems with cloud-based processing that drives my skepticism about the Gartner statement:
 
1. Managing risk in SHARED environments.
Lots of cloud providers brag on their SLAs but for any serious IT executive it should sound like – “I will pay you pennies for any outage but you cannot sue me.” We receive so many requests such as - do you provide SLAs? Yes we do! But how much? One of my friends was complaining that one of those SHARED environments brought their infrastructure down for 22 hours and offered $78 as the SLA payoff!!
Any serous IT organization supporting mission critical operations is not at the level of complacency when a provider can bring you down. Any unmanaged down time can result in huge loses that IT department would not be able to tolerate.
Many times in my life, IT Managers/Directors/VP’s whose jobs and reputations were on-the-line would call me directly for a private meeting to clearly state – “I understand that you are running a great organization. But… if one of your technicians in the trenches (operations) makes a mistake, a dozen of executives may loose their jobs. So please make sure that you have triple control, please make sure that even though you have that triple control all the guys also know that their decisions will affect lives and financial outcomes of lots of people that they don't even know.”
 
 
2. Getting peak performance out of the hardware.
IT is easy for cloud providers to say that we will give you as much power as you want. In the end of all debates most of the clients of vendors like EMC, 3PAR, Compelent, Fujitsu are business clients, not cloud providers. It means that business require not just capacities but most of the I/O that they can get. If a client requires to process a few hundred MB per second, there is no way they can go into a cloud.
 
 
3. Security
Sorry for bringing this up to your attention but again, Cloud based is SHARED. You have to trust your provider not to just operate your hardware with no down time but also be sure that this provider can keep your data secure. When you buy a locker box from the bank, you can get in and see how it is organized. You have one key and bank has another key. Even though you see this, you don't know how strong the wall is behind those lockers. You don't know how those keys in the bank are managed. You don't know if the security staff is trained. A bank would have some insurance when/if they lose your money to pay it back, but when a client loses its reputation for data loss, the cloud-based provider cannot return this reputation around nor can they have an insurance policy for this type of ruin.
 
So, in conclusion, I do believe that virtualization is a great technology but cloud-based or private is still a fundamental decision that every IT organization will decide on its own and that the cost advantages of shared hardware will NOT be the main driver for such decisions.

   

Replies

Abdelkader on 7/26/2012 7:55:55 AM

These devices are one of the must-haves for the medorn home entertainment center or home networks. They can perform multiple tasks from backups to media streaming. If you have a network, and just want a common place to store files, this will do it. Need a streaming media server for your new TV or networked media player? Ditto. Automatic network backup? Check. I'm using it for storing photos and videos. Since digital photos are only virtual (no more negatives for safety!), backups are a must. I keep several backups, as photography is a hobby and a job. I also have media streaming devices hooked up to my TV's, and they can play video, audio and show photos from the web and attached network devices. This device shows up on the list of network devices, and it's a few clicks to navigate to the media desired. Streaming works perfectly. Everything you need is in the box. A short networking cable, power supply, the network drive and installation CD. Installation is easy and straight forward. Attach the power and network cables, sit down at your PC, drop in the install CD, and follow the steps. You can't just plug in and go you need to run the install CD. This is not just a drive it's also a mini file server. You need to set up permissions and user accounts. The first thing the installer did was check for an update. One was available, so I let it install it. This took about 25 minutes. This step can be skipped, but it's always a good idea to install updates. After that was completed I created a couple of user accounts quick and easy. You can create private storage accounts, public, and pick who has access to what accounts. So little Billy can't see his sister's stuff, or each employee can have a private and public storage area. Really handy and well executed. Also included is backup software PC, Mac and automatic network. I did not install the software. I've used it in the past, and prefer manual backups. Case: If you know WD products, you'll notice that they all have the same look. Their media streamer looks like a miniature version of this unit. It's identical to their external drives. The user interface is browser based, so is accessible to anyone on the network with admin access. I've been using it for a couple of weeks now, and have not encountered any issues. Only one caveat when the drive arrives, you have 900 gig of storage. It may be a one TB drive, but only 900 gig is available. Warnings: 1) When you setup the drive, make a note of the IP address. The instructions for accessing via the network in My Computer in the manual don't work in Windows 7. You need to use the browser and enter the IP address. The shortcut also works differently in different OS. Windows 7 double clicking on the icon opens the shared folder. On XP it opens the dashboard / control panel for the mybook. 2) The only interface is the network port. Don't expect to attach anything to the device except the network cable and power. Comments: The interface, although web based, is a little clunky. For the price, you can't go wrong great bang for the buck.

 

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