Does cloud computing have a silver lining?
So, you want to put your business applications on the cloud. Before making this jump, there's a number of issues that
you should consider.
So, let's begin with the good.
Quick Startup/Low Costs - Cloud computing is a great way to get your business visibility. We see it every day by surfing the web to find companies
that offer needed services. In the overall scheme of business costs, providing that layer of visibility and creating a web presence takes very little
cost and very little time. The cost is lower because there is no need to purchase data servers or web servers. Less time is required because there's
generally less of a need for full time professional IT staff to maintain any equipment and network services.
Business Agility - Cloud hosting is normally quick to implement, and handles multiple platform development environments.
Data Security - If you don't plan on hosting critical data, the security level of cloud hosting may be good enough.
Now the bad.
Performance - All sites and users are competing for the same hardware and bandwidth resources. During peak usage, this
could result in lower performance. Many claim that you get unlimited scalability, however, in reality, many are finding
that this claim is not completely true as web resource needs grow and exceed capacity.
Security - Cloud hosting and its security may, in many cases, not be sufficient for maintaining data privacy requirements
for PCI compliance. Just in the last year, both the Playstation Network and Amazon's cloud servers were both victims of hacking.
For those affected, let me just say, going without Call of Duty: Black Ops and being unable to play online for 30 + days was not good.
Redundancy - Cloud data is still hosted on physical servers and therefore, can go down. Depending on the host recovery plans,
there may be little down time, or the servers may be down for several hours.
Cost - There are occasions where financial surprises can occur. One item that sometime catches people by surprise is when
they agree to automatic scaling. If you do not pay attention to your usage, your next bill may have be larger than you expected. And it
might not just be usage related to normal traffic, you may fall victim to a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service), which will run up
your usage, and can impede performance.
Ultimately, deciding to go the route of cloud computing makes sense in many cases that do not expose critical and sensitive data.
But with collection of data that includes personal or business related sensitive data like credit cards or financial data, the cloud
may not be the best place to host those applications.