Let’s face it – cloud computing is everywhere in many variants, delivery models, and offerings. Be it Software as a Service (SAAS), PAAS, internal cloud implementations, or whatever it may be called this week, there is no doubt the game has changed. The data center is permanently transformed.
Gone or dying are the racks of overbuilt, overbought equipment with – for lack of a better term – virtually no virtualization within that data center. Everyone is going virtual or in the cloud. But is that really the case? There are those who think so, and they are of the type that propose you can and shall put everything into the cloud. Well the truth of it is, cost motives are just not enough. Many concerns regarding this type of construct still exist. And while some companies may be attracted by the cost savings, they may be approaching this with more of a hybrid perspective, where obviously most companies will lie. There will be a minority of companies that are 100% cloud based and those that are 0% cloud based.
Of course, there are internal cloud constructs which offer operational advantages and more or less have been around for some time. Most organizations already use some form of internal cloud. The focus here is to evaluate presence in the public cloud and the fact that a majority of companies will adopt a hybrid cloud. To what degree they employ in each, both internal and external, depends on the people running the show, the parties at play, the companies at play and what kind of information they are proposing putting out there.
The examples are many, but take healthcare for example. Some of the issues faced there are HIPAA, PCI, PHI, and a whole host of other compliance constructs that have to be accounted, designed, and audited for in every single system, account and service that exist in these environments. So many questions exist when we are talking about this. Security is but one: sure, the public cloud can provide some very secure transport, but what about data at rest? How many copies exist out there, and where are they? If a company wishes to change services, how is data reclaimed? This goes beyond the normal due diligence such as reviewing what SLA’s are in place, reviewing availability, and physical security. This illustrates a component of the paradigm of cloud computing and the challenges it faces in the world of healthcare, financial services, government, and so on. In situations where the information is sensitive and a need for absolute security exists, the truth of the matter is that in the best case these types of organizations will employ hybrid environments, not pure cloud environments. This is a next frontier of cloud computing- where once the cloud revolution passes, what will the next advance be? It very well could be that a leader will break out in this space, addressing a good deal of these questions and it may perhaps not even be a technical advance. It may come down to a combination of marketing, technology, and timing. Well, that timing is coming up.