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Cloud computing is evolving and (re)shaping every minute

Melvin Lancelot's Blog

With cloud computing receiving so much attention it makes you wonder that if cloud computing delivers so much why wouldn’t companies immediately jump on the cloud computing bandwagon? Well like several IT trends in the past, cloud computing too is evolving and (re)shaping every minute. Some of the challenges that an organization could face if they move to a cloud computing model include:

  • Vendor lock in - it’s almost like the age of the OS wars are over, the next major war are going to be the cloud computing platform wars, yup - cloud computing vendors don’t just provide you a service they provide a platform for you to build your apps, and once your hooked to one vendors platform its going to be very difficult to make it support another vendors platform, im sure even MS is aware of this and would push heavily for cloud computing initiatives via Red Dog, Zurich and the Oslo wave.The reality is that once you choose a cloud computing vendor its going to be extremely difficult to switch to another vendor and its also difficult to design your solution to work against multiple (but similar) services from different cloud service providers.

  • Pricing - this is one of those gotchas that you just cant escape, clients may opt for cloud computing as a cost effective mechanism, however in a this model they are not paying a one time cost - it’s a subscription charge they are paying and the service vendor can hike the subscription charges at a later time, that compounded by vendor lock in (above) would raise serious questions on moving to cloud computing.

  • Service Level Agreement (SLA) - like in case of pricing (above), SLAs have a similar story - you move to a cloud service for better SLA that what you can economically manage - however now your at the mercy of the service provider. Recent downtimes by providers such as Amazon tells you that all is not always well in a cloud computing model.

  • Application design - Look at most OLTP apps today, it would have some form of tiered design approach. Traditionally these tiers would be designed to work in close proximity to the other tiers - with the cloud computing model there is going to be a radical shift in how we design applications and services. Several SOA best practices (patterns and anti-patterns) would apply to design applications that leverage cloud computing as well.

  • Scalability bottlenecks - This is closely related to application design but explicitly called it out cause in many ways an application can be developed via composition of service from various cloud computing providers, however keep in mind that scalability on only as strong as the weakest link in the architecture, incorrect selection of one vendors service can compromise the performance of the entire application. Many vendor (like Googles AppEngine) provide a end to end cloud computing platform, this makes it more compelling for companies to adopt such service provider that others.

Like any evolving technology, cloud computing will see its fair share of growing pains. However, its one of those disruptive technologies that come once in a while that can radically change how we build, manage and consume software.

About Melvin T Lancelot
Melvin Lancelot is a technical architect working for the consulting group at Aditi Technologies. On a day to day basis he helps ISVs and enterprises succeed by leverage the right blend of technology, platform and market trends. He contributes to a blog at http://techturks.blogspot.com.

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