No More Cloud Delusions!

No More Cloud Delusions!

I am sick and tired of the myriad cloud urban myths that run amok both in and outside of the IT community. One by one, I’d like to dismantle three of my biggest pet-peeve cloud delusions.

Let’s begin with one of the more attractive and “boho-chic” cloud tall tales that never fails to spur lively debate between dissidents and optimists: the idea that the cloud is “green,” or environmentally sustainable and advantageous. Don’t think so! The energy that powers the data centers that themselves power the very notion of cloud computing derives from the same resources that fuel any other electrical output. Obviously, energy in America remains highly contentious. And although the country has come a long way in concentrating on renewable sources, coal and oil still outrank solar, hydroelectric, or other sustainable options.

Google recently announced its support of the notion that cloud can equal greenness, as Wired Cloudline efficiently explores. But Greenpeace protests continue to reinforce the veracity of cloud computing’s compelling need to improve in this area, not bask in ostensible (and still nascent) sustainability supremacy.

We now return to an old chestnut in the cloud delusion conversation: that it lags behind other technologies in terms of security and data protection. Let it go, people! Cloud is inherently just as secure — and insecure — as literally any other computing option out there, and that’s the truth. We acknowledge that the cloud can attract threats due to its fewer yet more intensely utilized data centers. However, the very fact that cloud’s data centers are so efficient and high-powered encourages vigilant upkeep and maintenance regarding them, keeping their data even more protected. Security remains a vital concern in cloud computing, to be sure. But instead of canvassing the myth of its poor security, there ought to be deeper communication between cloud’s clients and vendors on ensuring that data centers are water-tight.

Arguably the most agonizing and pervasive cloud wive’s tale remains the widely held belief that cloud computing will instantly provide a huge financial slim-down for ANYONE who decides to take it up. Wrong! Although cloud computing can help to realign and streamline an organization’s technological existence, that optimization of resources does not necessarily (or automatically) create an economical advantage. Yes, cloud’s scale-ability does allow companies to save money by paying exclusively for the precise data servers required at any specific moment in time. But a business would have to severely reduce its own computing needs for cloud computing to force a reduction in its IT budget.

By no means is this trio — green, security, and money savings — the only group of cloud computing fables that irk me. I’ll tackle more in the future. Which of these three is, in your opinion, the most likely to be believed, no matter what I’ve argued?

By Jeff Norman

About Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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One Response to No More Cloud Delusions!

  1. I agree with you on quite an extent on the realm you displayed on it’s security. However, cloud is environmentally green and also it can save a lot of your greens ($).  These might not be apparently visible but the true effect of cloud computing in terms of environmentally and financially green matures after sometime. 
    For Example: (Based over logical assumptions)
    An XYZ company currently have 5 in-house servers. They cost $1000/server initially, consume $50/month electricity and produce 5kg of CO2/month. If we compute it over 1 year, 1 server cost $2200 and produce 60Kg of CO2. And for 5 it would be $11,000 annually with 300Kg of CO2/month.
    Enter the cloud model now. The company decided to virtualize it’s server, internally i.e. private cloud. A typical cloud server is slightly expensive than standard server but it can power upto 5 simultaneous servers. 
    The cost of 1 Virtualization specific server would be $2000 and it would consume almost same or less amount of energy ( due to new and efficient energy saving compliant architecture)  and 5kg of CO2. Now if we calculate it annually a cloud server will;
    Capex: $2000  Opex (Power) : $1200 and 60Kg of CO2. The total would be $3200 annually with 60Kg of CO2. 
    This model has given almost 70% in financial saving and its quite Green in terms of less electricity consumed and CO2 produced. 

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