The Five Pillars of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing requires a dynamic computing infrastructure - there are four other pillars, too
By: Dave Malcolm
Jun. 27, 2009 10:45 PM
Cloud computing is getting tons of press these days. Everyone has a different perspective and understanding of the technology, and there are myriad variations on the definition of the cloud- William Fellows and John Barr at the 451 Group define cloud computing as the intersection of grid, virtualization, SaaS, and utility computing models. James Staten of Forrester Research describes it as a pool of abstracted, highly scalable, and managed compute infrastructure capable of hosting end-customer applications and billed by consumption. Let's take it a step further and examine the core principles, or pillars, that uniquely define cloud computing.
Pillar 1: Dynamic Computing Infrastructure
A dynamic computing infrastructure is critical to effectively supporting the elastic nature of service provisioning and de-provisioning as requested by users while maintaining high levels of reliability and security. The consolidation provided by virtualization, coupled with provisioning automation, creates a high level of utilization and reuse, ultimately yielding a very effective use of capital equipment
Pillar 2: IT Service-Centric Approach
An IT Service Centric approach enables user adoption and business agility - the easier and faster a user can perform an administrative task the more expedient the business moves, reducing costs or driving revenue.
Pillar 3: Self-Service Based Usage Model
The benefit of self service from the users' perspective is a level of empowerment and independence that yields significant business agility. One benefit often overlooked from the service provider's or IT team's perspective is that the more self service that can be delegated to users, the less administrative involvement is necessary. This saves time and money and allows administrative staff to focus on more strategic, high-valued responsibilities.
Pillar 4: Minimally or Self-Managed Platform
All of these capabilities enable business agility while simultaneously enacting critical and necessary administrative control. This balance of control and delegation maintains security and uptime, minimizes the level of IT administrative effort, and keeps operating expenses low, freeing up resources to focus on higher value projects.
Pillar 5: Consumption-Based Billing
The value here from a user's perspective is the ability for them to pay only for the resources they use, ultimately helping them keep their costs down. From a provider's perspective, it allows them to track usage for charge back and billing purposes.
In summary, all of these five pillars are necessary in producing an enterprise private cloud capable of achieving compelling business value which includes savings on capital equipment and operating costs, reduced support costs, and significantly increased business agility. All of these enable corporations to improve their profit margins and competitiveness in the markets they serve.
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