While Cloud is generating lot more heat than light it is, nonetheless, giving us all something to think about and something to sell our customers. In some respects Cloud isn't new, in other respects it's ground-breaking and will make an undeniable change in the way that business provides users with applications and services.
Beyond that, and it is already happening, users will at last be able to provide their own Processing, Memory, Storage and Network (PMSN) resources at one level, and at other levels receive applications and services anywhere, anytime, using (almost) any mobile technology. In short, Cloud can liberate users, make remote working more feasible, ease IT management and move a business from CapEx to more of an OpEx situation. If a business is receiving applications and services from Cloud, depending on the type of Cloud, it may not need a data centre or server-room any more. All it will require is to cover the costs of the applications and services that it uses. Some in IT may perceive this as a threat, others as a liberation.
So, what is Cloud?
To understand Cloud you need to understand the base technologies, principles and drivers that support it and have provided a lot of the impetus to develop it.
For the last decade the industry has been super-busy consolidating data centres and server-rooms from racks of tin boxes to less racks of fewer tin boxes. At the same time the number of applications able to exist in this new and smaller footprint has been increasing.
Virtualisation; why do it?
Servers hosting a single application have utilisation levels of around 15%. That means that the server is ticking over and highly under-utilised. The cost of data centres full of servers running at 15% is a financial nightmare. Server utilisation of 15% can't return anything on the initial investment for many years, if ever. Servers have a lifecycle of about 3 years and a depreciation of about 50% out of the box. After three years, the servers are worth anything in corporate terms.
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