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7 Truths About Cloud Computing

Carol Wilson
5/12/2011
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LAS VEGAS -- Interop -- Cloud services were a dominant topic here this week. Hours of discussion, conference sessions and interviews led to the following conclusions:

It's too soon for cloud service standards
Telecom service providers typically want to move to standardize services, but that's not yet on anyone's mind. Doug Junkins, CTO of NTT America Inc. , and Scott Cain, head Global Portfolio Management, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), both agreed on this point during a panel I moderated at the Carrier Cloud Forum. There are still too many things to work out to begin cementing things in standards, although standard APIs for connecting pieces of cloud services will become important. A day later, Chris Gesell, chief cloud strategist at Verizon Enterprise Solutions , agreed and went a step further, saying Verizon doesn't want to commit to standards now and get locked into an approach that loses a VHS-Betamax battle down the road. Even Tom Mornini, CTO and co-founder of EngineYard, a cloud platform provider, agrees that it's too early to nail down standards.

But end-users can't get locked into cloud solutions
On this point, cloud will have to remain different from other networking services, where term contracts are the norm and CPE is tied into the network offering. At an Interop panel on cloud moderated by Randy Bias, CTO of cloud consultant Cloudscaling , a diverse set of industry experts agreed that end-users must be able to move from one cloud platform to another or pull their services back onto their own premises. That thinking confirmed what Mark Thiele, VP of data center strategy for ServiceMesh, an IT software and services company, said at our Carrier Cloud Forum a day earlier. This will be a key trust factor for early adoption of cloud. (See Clouds Need More Than SLAs.)

Network operators who want to develop cloud services should move fast -- with caution
The battle for the cloud already includes Web providers such as Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Rackspace and some, including Bias, think telecom service providers won't win the battle for green-field apps versus these more nimble Web competitors with their commodity pricing:

That said, service providers can leverage their networks, their relationships with businesses but they need to proceed carefully -- what Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR)'s Mike Marcellin calls "placing many small bets" versus a few large ones, and staying close to the roulette wheel, so to speak, to be ready to double-down on those with greater chances of success. (See Characteristics of Cloud Computing.)

Next page: Vertical Reach & Mobility

— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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h3net.com
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h3net.com,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:25 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


I agree with this opinion, however one thing that is overlooked in the telecommunications world is the difference between how licensed carriers are held accountable for their service offerings (tariffs, usf, cabs,etc) vs. the cloud computing  carriers who seek to keep all their costs down and drive market prices for such resold services. We certainly want to support our Cloud Computing Client providers and develop solutions around their needs. Like SMS enabled DIDS, and SIP Trunking.


HyperCube is a licensed competitive wholesale carrier. H3net.com


 

Stevery
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Stevery,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:22 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


Any talk of reliability?  Anyone think they can do better than Amazon's 2 nines?  (or did they make it to one?)

cnwedit
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cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:21 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


Yes, there was lots of talk of reliability - especially given Amazon's recent outage.


The challenge there seems to be a market education issue --will enterprises be willing to pay more for higher availability, greater security and better reliability? That may well be a decision they make on an application by application basis-- for some apps, they are wiilling to have a higher risk profile than for others. And the type of risk will vary also.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:05:21 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


 


I guess I disagree wholeheartedly with what has been typed here by Stevery.


Cloud at the Enterprise level will be a replacement for my iron.  If I use the cloud in a way that has lots of single points of failure then shame on me.  This to me is no different than having my iron (and I run iron in datacenters) without redundancy in servers, bandwidth, and data center.  Even for my local office, I have 2 different carriers that bring bandwidth in.  One is intended to be strictly a backup so it is not 100% redundancy (like 1+1), but it is on a different carrier and even on a different technology (my primary is an Opt-E-Man and my backup is a broadband wireless).


If I am a SMB and buy some of the more advanced services like the AWS storefront, I am very much locked into a single service.  On the other hand, companies of this size are unlikely (to me) to have the redundant data centers and lots of extra iron.


My personal opinion is that people view "The Cloud" as a way out of thinking about proper architecture and design.  I note that Netflix has been up and operational not only through the Amazon thing but the Sony thing (and my Netflix client is on my PS3).


seven


 

Stevery
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Stevery,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:21 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


> -will enterprises be willing to pay more for higher availability, greater security and better reliability?


The answer is simple:  No.  At least, not enough to make a business.


I think the cloud guys have really painted themselves into a corner.  A major sell point was the purported reliability and to let somebody else worry about the problem.  Amazon truly screwed the pooch on this:  Now if I don't own the bare metal, I don't trust other companies to get it right, especially because they are financially incentivized to cut every corner they can.

cnwedit
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cnwedit,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:20 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


It is still very early days for most cloud services and part of the process will be educating the business customer as to exactly what he or she is getting, as well as what is at risk.


Any system can fail, the question is, what happens when it does? What are the backup systems, how much survivability is built in and for what, how does the service provider communiticate the problem, etc. I think the Amazon outage was a wake-up call but not the death knell of cloud services.


Service providers may be able to differentiate in the cloud by the different levels of service and SLAs they offer, allowing the customer to choose what level of risk they are willing to accept.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:05:19 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


 


Stevery,


I expect that Amazon has LOTS of single points of failure.  My point is that if I am using Amazon Compute power, I should also have Rackspace compute power.  I should set my service up so that I can turn up services and manage them across multiple providers.


And yes, I expect Netflix gets a lot more attention than your average small customer.  I look at what I do.  I have completely redundant data centers in disperse geographic locations.  If I want to move to virtual hardware, I expect I need separate providers and multiple bandwidth vendors.


seven


 

Stevery
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Stevery,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:19 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


> and SLAs they offer, allowing the customer to choose what level of risk they are willing to accept.


You have good points.  The one above is a bit tricky:  The Amazon customers thought they had chosen one level of risk, but ended up with something else entirely.

Stevery
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Stevery,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:05:19 PM
re: 7 Truths About Cloud Computing


> If I use the cloud in a way that has lots of single points of failure then shame on me. 


Have you had a chance to dig into the Amazon fiasco?  I'd love to hear your readout, because it supposedly did just this. 


>  I note that Netflix has been up and operational not only through the Amazon thing but the Sony thing (and my Netflix client is on my PS3).


I would be suspicious that Netflix is so large a customer that their cloud gets a bit more attention than SMBs.

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