Snow Computing

In a post I wrote last summer on cloud computing, I shared my thoughts on the vague usage of "cloud computing", within both technical and non-technical audiences.  It's finally becoming generally accepted that the cloud is more or less a marketing term today.  I like the seasonal approach--perhaps snow computing during the anticipated Snowpocalypse?  We seem to have overcome the hype of this mystical server located in space/dirt/snow, no thanks to Microsoft and IBM commercials which seem to further confuse the subject.  It appears Microsoft would like us to use the cloud to share photos, and IBM defines it as some sort of email supercomputer.  Either way, it seems like we are starting to get our heads out of the cloud, and are realizing what it effectively can do for business.  More importantly, we need to take a step back from what the cloud is, and focus more on why we need it.  

Since cloud computing continues to gain serious velocity in business, I thought I would share a basic framework we have learned to use for considering the cloud.

Two Dimensions of Cloud Computing:  Delivery Model and Services Delivered

A direct method of approaching the cloud is to dissect your core business functions, determine the weakest functions (or bottlenecks), then use a cloud computing adoption framework to potentially eliminate or reduce them.  What we all seem to agree on is the cloud has two dimensions--the delivery model, and the services delivered.  

The delivery model falls into three categories:

  • Public - Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc.
  • Private - On premise or co-located
  • Hybrid - Blend of public and private

Privacy, compliance and proximity seem to drive the decision on the model, though there can be a number of reasons why an organization would choose one over the other.

The services delivered also fall into three major categories (or layers):

  • Infrastructure (IaaS- Core servers, storage, network devices  
  • Platform (PaaS- Middleware such as web server or a "stack"
  • Application (Saas- Content Management, CRM, ERP, etc

There you go, now you're a cloud expert!  Clear as mud.  Either way, the cloud seems to be shaping up for 2011.  Still looking forward to space computing.

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