Some things never change. Some people never learn.
I’m getting tired of this. How many times do I have to explain that cloud computing is not the same thing as just having a bunch of servers or virtual servers?
Yes, I know at a superficial level a traditional data center looks a lot like a cloud data center – but so what? Do you think a Mac looks and feels like a Linux server just because their chips are identical!?
OK, let’s go over the basics one more time.
Clouds run on virtualization machines (VM) and servers. So far, it’s like any other enterprise service.
Where the difference comes in is that unlike VMs or servers in and of themselves, clouds use orchestration to enable services to be delivered as a user-controlled utility. Notice that phrase “user-controlled”? It makes all the difference in the world.
Sure, we’ve had “utility” computng since the ’60s, but previously – whether it was multi-user batch computing with IBM mainframes and MVT/TSO or true multi-user computing with TOPS-10 and Unix – users had limited control over a system’s resources.
Yes, with any of these – or their modern equivalents, usually Linux on a VM – a user can run their own programs. What you couldn’t do was control your resources. Want more RAM? A bigger hard drive? A faster processor? Fill in this form, pay more money, wait, and hope for the best.
With cloud orchestration, you self-provision your servers, applications and other resources on the fly. What’s orchestration? “It’s the combination of tools, processes and architecture that enable virtualized resources to be delivered as a service.”
All of this is done via an easy-to-use GUI. Need more resources? Instead of putting in a purchase order, you just spin off some more servers using the service’s interface.
It’s not rocket science. With modern cloud services, you can set up services up just by clicking your mouse. Indeed, once set up properly, you don’t even need to do that. As your need for resources swells and shrinks, so do your cloud resources.
And – this is the important bit for your CFO – so does your bill. By metering your bill to correspond to what you actually use, cloud services can reduce your overall computing charges.
It’s this combination of ease of resource usage for you as a user, and the resulting reduced billing for your corporate finances, that means cloud computing is not just the same old utility computing with new marketing wrapping paper.
It really is different, and the sooner you realize that, and start putting that knowledge to use, the sooner you can save your company from being wiped out by rivals that are realizing the financial and processing benefits of cloud computing.