Tom Peruzzi's thoughts on digital, innovation, IT and operations

To cloud or not to cloud …

Posted in startup failures, technical by opstakes on November 12, 2009

…. that’s the question

I am not intended to talk about the general facts about clouds, cost topics and the different types (PaaS, IaaS, …) And I’m too not interested in referring about whether an offer is SaaS or Cloud or not. My topic is much more operational and what I want to show you is that a cloud as a private or public cloud does not solve all your problems as you potentially intended to do so.

If talking about PaaS/IaaS a cloud is nothing more than another type of infrastructure provisioning, nothing more, nothing less. You still lack support for your application and in terms of public clouds you will not be enabled that easy to run a loadbalancer or other resilient stuff that easy.

Despite the fact that all major cloud computing offers try to declare their cloud as save, unlimited, borderless resilient and (d)dos-attack safe, we still know that Murphy exists. Talking to vendors today talking about resilience mostly ends up by them telling ungecky sentences like “a cloud can’t fail …”

So if you are aware of potential risks and if you already know how to deploy your app(s) in your favorite inhouse or external cloud you should still think about how operations changes by using a cloud? Be aware of topics like:

  • how about backup/archiv?
  • am I still able to fulfill all my current and foreseeable compliance stuff and how?
  • how will my release process, my associated toolbox and my service support process change?
  • Is it a strategic or an economic value and how to live with?
  • Is my ops platform able to run in the cloud?
  • Is there any benefit from using a cloud or is my app still missing some major advantages?
  • Do my vendors and their license support their app in the cloud? Is the licence cloud-enabled?
  • Do I need special hardware?

The main topic I see right now is that we all talk about how cool it would be and how nice and easy everything should look like in the cloud but I will only talk about Operations and there are still a bunch of unanswered questions. So please don’t say yes or no to a cloud because of style or your personal relation to the vendor, think about the questions above and if you can easily answer all those you should really think about running a cloud.

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