Cloud: 12 Reasons Why the Future Forecast is Partly Cloudy

Last week bought Exact Target for $2.5 billion, IBM bought SoftLayer for around $2 billion, and in April Accenture committed $400 million to enhance its cloud capabilities.  All of these acquisitions, along with all the other cloud providers such as Amazon, RackSpace and Service Now, are helping customer applications with cloud capabilities.

Cloud computing is the new model or paradigm and I purposely use the word “paradigm” because it has been used so many times in the past to describe other new information technology computing models and trends.  This paradigm has the same hype as previous paradigms but there are many advantages to the cloud computing solutions.  The following 12 reasons are why data management professionals need to include clouds in their thoughts for better application solutions and potentially substantial cost savings.

  1. On demand capacity. – On demand elastic capacity model of cloud computing is highly attractive as the businesses continue to drive IT costs out of their operationsThe previous paradigm of distributed computing proliferated extra server capacity just in case performance spiked which happened in every business.  Without the extra overhead of hardware, software maintenance, and power requirements cloud computing allows businesses to dynamically access capacity so they can concentrate on the customer experiences.
  2. Ubiquitous Network. – Immediate global reach is now available through cloud providers.  Companies can now be local to customers around the world because cloud providers have data centers around the world.  Now your business can have a local computing resource presence without having to learn a foreign language because technology is a universal language.
  3. Pay as you use model. – Internet has help companies become global brands which causes huge spikes in capacity requirements due to advertising campaigns, special events, and seasonal sales.  These spikes can sometimes be 400 to 2000% of regular transaction levels.  Buying extra servers for seasonal capacity that only sit idle the rest of the time is impractical.  Paying for what is used and having an elastic, on-demand capacity saves the business money.
  4. Dynamically grow or shrink. – Just as advertising campaigns, special events, and seasonal sales can cause wild swings in demand, over time a business’ priorities and supporting applications change.  Social networks, world events, and new functionality sometime cause applications to need to be separated, split or broken off.  The cloud with its elastic capacity model provides for a flexible environment to separate, split, or break off services and virtual environments where and when the business needs them.
  5. Resource pooling. – Having a virtual unlimited capacity model allows more application services to be located together.  This economy of scale provides for resources to be pooled together and helps everyone share the resources and minimize the costs.
  6. Flexibility of computing models. –Cloud computing offers flexibility on the computing model helping implement or manage any level of administration or infrastructure support.  Through this flexible infrastructure, platform or software components within the cloud, environments can be leveraged as desired from other applications, saving the business tremendous costs.
    1. Infrastructure as a service
    2. Platform as service
    3. Software as service
      1. Each of these computing models provides a way to balance the business costs, application requirements and administration control with in-house and external hardware, software and skills.
        1. Application
        2. Platform Architecture
        3. Virtualized Infrastructure
        4. Hardware
        5. Data Center Facility
  7. Flexibility for sharing. – Separation of services along with separation of infrastructure, software and administration, provides the ability to model security, integration and data sharing configurations.  Each potential cloud configuration and model has different considerations and the virtual cloud environments allow development of private, public and hybrid solutions to match the business needs and the processing requirements exactly.
    1. Private Clouds
    2. Private Shared Community Cloud
    3. Public Cloud
    4. Hybrid – Using both private and public clouds infrastructure
  8. Inter-operability. – Cloud virtual generic standard computing, web servers, and storage resources allow workloads to run transparently on any public and some private clouds.  This leads to portability for the workloads and helps drive the computing cost down further by finding the lowest cost provider.
  9. Security. – Cloud security concerns are appropriately high.  Because of this healthy skepticism the clouds’ providers have implemented some of the best intrusion detection, authentication and certification processes for their customers.  Some of the transaction trust, multi-tenancy, encryption, and compliance security mechanisms are very complex and sophisticated and would be a substantial business cost for a single business while the cloud economies of scale spread costs across all the cloud customers.  Security requirements are a constant regardless of the type of computing environment.  There are several great cloud security examples contact me if you want to find out more.
  10. Redundancy / Disaster Recovery. – Cloud providers are spreading their cloud infrastructures around the world for their customers.  Their configurations are diverse and have several layers of redundancy and back each other up.  In some cases the clouds offer better disaster recovery facilities at a cheaper business cost point than can be provided by a private business because of economies of scale and interoperability of cloud workloads, allowing to be deployed to any cloud infrastructure as needed.
  11. Physical assets not necessary. – Business accountants also like cloud computing better because computers are capital expenditures.  Using the cloud helps minimize computing business assets and slots the cloud costs as a variable expenses based on usage.
  12. Transaction costs vs. application performance costs. – Since the business directly relates its computing services costs to transactions, the capacity, elasticity and local global reach of cloud computing is critical to analyze the cost of spikes and seasonal processing rather than defining the application itself as a cost basis.

All of these features and functionality of cloud computing provide real savings and a business case for your data management department to help identify the proprietary, public and transportable services that are flexible and can leverage a cloud infrastructure.  Companies are saving huge business costs through the consolidation of data centers, distributed servers, and improved capacity.  Start your cloud conversations around your data assets and their related services today and help the business save huge dollars through cloud computing.


Dave Beulke is an internationally recognized DB2 consultant, DB2 trainer and education instructor.  Dave helps his clients improve their strategic direction, dramatically improve DB2 performance and reduce their CPU demand saving millions in their systems, databases and application areas within their mainframe, UNIX and Windows environments.

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