The tech industry's current love affair is with cloud computing - that hard to describe set of technology and infrastructure that is the obsession of companies large and small. Much like the industry's previous 'squeeze', SOA, the joy of the cloud is that you can make almost any technology fit under the name. Put plainly though, I see the cloud as a flexible set of server and storage resources that can host applications, somewhere out there, though you don't have to know where. With this comes the ability to reduce costs of running enterprise and SaaS applications.
There are many discussions about whether the IT teams of real companies will allow the cloud to become the platform for running their enterprise applications. There are risks that seem to come from the cloud that are fairly easy to identify:
- This is a new style of technology, so you have to trust your vendor
- Security of data is harder to understand than with dedicated servers
- Reliability and high levels of service shouldn't be an issue, but you have to wonder if capacity is 'elastic' and can expand, what chance is there that it can suddenly shrink without warning too
- Server resources are completely outside the control of IT, so you can't even call up and say, "my Window's server is going slow again. Could you reboot it?"
A post from the Improving It blog
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Ouch! Can you imagine how many startups fail without taking this into consideration.
Then again, if you make it and grow to a certain point, there's a definite breakpoint where dedicated infrastructure becomes more cost effective than cloud. We found this to be at about 1 million active users on a 5 year ROI.
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