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» VIEW ALL POSTS Jun 12 2009   5:20PM GMT

Five key questions about cloud computing



Posted by: Christina Torode
Tags:
cloud computing

It seems every time I ask someone what they think about cloud computing, I’m asked five or more questions in return:

Isn’t what cloud providers offer pretty cookie cutter? Translate that as, “They might not support the particular platforms and configurations I have.”

What about licensing? Just the other day, someone at a business intelligence show said it wasn’t clear how database licensing would be handled. Would he license the database, or would the cloud computing provider?

Which led to a question many people have: If I host an application, such as a business intelligence application with a cloud provider, it would have to connect to my data sources. Wouldn’t that be a security risk?

How will that impact compliance with regulations?

And the most popular concern: Why would I want to expose my data sources like that?

The IT side of the house always questions how their SLAs will be impacted if they go with a cloud computing provider. If some kind of outage happens, and the outage that happened at Amazon the other day answers that big what-if question about reliability and latency, who then is responsible for my SLA? Or will it take more traditional providers like Verizon, potentially more focused on reliability, to ease these concerns.

On the flip side, people are pretty excited about cloud computing as a means to test applications, particularly smaller companies with minimal IT staff or server room for testing a new application or service.

That conversation goes more like this: “Oh, cloud computing would have been great when the nursing department came to me and asked if they could test out a new application and we had to turn them down because we had no room on our servers.”

Potential cost savings on the infrastructure and being able to pay as they go are also appealing to small and midsized companies, yet, they often wonder just how much the cost savings really are over time.

What are your hopes for cloud computing? If you plan to tap the cloud how are you making a business case for it?

And if you have answers to these recurring questions, or concerns of your own I would be happy to hear them, too.

Let me know what you think; email: Christina Torode, Senior News Writer

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  • EdRushman
    With regard to testing, there is a concern about unpredictable costs where defective code could result in excessive i/o access charges. Amazon Elastic Block Store charges according to the access volume, for instance. For production applications, a malicious user could cause a site to use large amounts of access, resulting in huge charges.
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