Cloud Computing: First-Hand Stories and Use Cases
Cloud Computing is a great tool for startups and organizations that do not have a web based infrastructure
Sep. 10, 2008 03:00 PM
Kevin Mullins' Blog
I have been reading about Cloud Computing, and from my perspective, Cloud Computing is a great tool for startups and organizations that do not have a web based infrastructure, or for folks that need to deploy and scale applications quickly.
I can see where large organizations may be a little reluctant to do this, as most large organizations do not have excessive scaling requirements, and most large organizations already have their network and computing infrastructure in place. Some of the more flexible organizations will start to experiment with Cloud Computing, and some may move pieces of their infrastructure into the cloud, however I my thought is that more of the larger organizations will opt to build their own Cloud Computing infrastructure as opposed to moving their data and applications into the cloud.
I recently came across a number of posts where folks talk about how they use Cloud Computing and I thought that was worth sharing.
Cloud Computing Hype
There has been a lot of hype about Cloud Computing with many vendors offering services in the cloud or in support of the cloud, and this has blurred the lines of Cloud Computing. Ask a System Administrator what Cloud Computing is, and then ask his boss, his bosses boss, and his bosses bosses boss, and I bet you will get three completely different answers. This is partly true because of the different roles and responsibilities of each person, but it points out that the term Cloud Computing is not well understood.
If you are considering moving to Cloud Computing, here are a couple of first hand stories from folks that have deploying applications in the cloud.
The first story is from a Georgia Tech student named Paul Stamatiou. Paul has a blog called paulstamatiou.com and Paul is co-founder of a Web 2.0 app called Skribit. Paul wrote about "Getting Started with EC2" and "How to Live in the Cloud" where he outlines how to launch your first Amazon EC2 instance.
The second story is from a web engineer at CitySquares named Justin D. Leider. Justin has a blog called "Justin D. Leider's Think Tank" and he wrote a great post about "Running your own hardware vs EC2 and Rightscale". Justin outlines the pro's and con's of supporting and maintaining applications in the cloud and gives us a first hand view for deploying applications in the cloud.
Other Resources ....
I often read John M Willis's - IT Management and Cloud Blog where John dives right into Cloud Computing, and often identifies how to best support and deploy resources in the cloud. John has a podcast series around Cloud Computing, and John is also the co-host of Michael Cotes IT Management Podcast.
Another great Cloud Computing resource is the Amazon EC2 site where you will find a lot of documentation, case studies and instructions on how to get started using Amazons EC2 service.
Build Your Own Cloud
But, for those of you who are considering building your own cloud, here are three different links and sites to consider:
The first link is by Greg Ferro who has a blog called etheReal Mind. Greg wrote a post about Enterprise Cloud Computing - Build Your Own with Cisco VFrame, so if you have Cisco resources in your organization, and you are considering building your own cloud, then you should read this and talk with your Cisco resources.
The second link is for Eucalyptus which is an Open Source Elastic Utility Computing Architecture that could be use to connect to and manage both external and internal Cloud Computing resources.
The third link is for enomalism which is another Open Source solution that deploys a web based virtual infrastructure platform to support resources in the Cloud.
Security, Reliability and Maintainability
Computing needs can be different across all organizations, and therefore Cloud Computing needs could also be different across many organizations, however I see three important considerations that need to be addressed before moving into the cloud, Security, Reliability and Maintainability. If you can address all three considerations then Cloud Computing can be an effective tool used to support your organization.