Cloud computing has dramatically changed the role of IT, said Bernard Golden, vice president of strategy for ActiveState—both for better and worse. While cloud has enabled companies to save money and expand their capabilities, it’s far from a panacea.
One of the challenges enterprises experience when moving to the cloud is bringing along the same problems. The expectation should be that “everything fails all the time.” Amazon Web Services, said Golden, also had that expectation. But when it suffered a failure, its customers were surprised.
There are solutions to reduce the risk of failure. Among them: moving persistent data off the VMs, using redundant resources, implementing resource elasticity, and leveraging CSP elasticity.
“You have to start adding redundancy. You want to be able to grow and shrink it. There are successively greater application practices that get you successively higher numbers of 9s,” Golden said. “But as you expect, the more 9s, the more cost.”
Golden said it’s important to understand that with cloud, “the meter’s always running.” The good news is that you only pay for what you use. But that’s the bad news too. If you’re not using your resources wisely, “it’s like having a taxi parked at the end of your driveway.”
But cloud computing is not going away anytime soon. While the amount of time people spend watching TV and browsing the Web each day has remained constant over the past four years, we now spend 127 minutes using our mobile devices, compared to 66 minutes in 2010.
And while sales of PCs are growing only slightly, a huge spike is forecast for both tablets and smartphones. “It’s clear that mobile is coming to the fore,” Golden said.
There are more mobile users, which creates much greater load variability, greater stress on the backend, and the need for more frequent updates. Users are accessing devices and applications at different times of the day. And APIs don’t solve the problem. Instead, they can exacerbate the problem.
Golden said he expects that cloud brokers will emerge to help companies find vendors and manage costs.
In the meantime, he advises IT managers and enterprises not to underestimate the opportunities cloud enables, recognize that the cloud imposes new problems and requires new solutions, look to all elements of the application lifecycle, and automate, configure, and count.
The bottom line, said Golden, is "Don't underestimate the opportunities cloud enables. And recognize that cloud imposes new problems and requires new solutions."