What's more real, cloud computing or unicorns? Given the hype surrounding the cloud, perhaps unicorns are a less fanciful notion.
Ask network administrators and CIOs, and cloud computing, so far, has not lived up to expectations -- it's slow, it has troubles housing huge enterprise critical data, and it is perceived as insecure. A key reason is that many historic clouds achieved their cost savings by using "older technology," said Jared Wray, CTO at cloud provider Tier 3. And "they have not excelled at network performance," he added, mainly for technical reasons.
But here is the positive side of the 2012 cloud reality: Little by little, large cutting-edge companies and innumerable mid-sized enterprises (which have been much faster to embrace cloud, in part because they had lesser investments in legacy data centers) are moving more of their computing into clouds. But the clouds are not necessarily what were envisioned a few years ago. Upshots of the new-style 2012 clouds are better performance but also reduced cost savings.
What has been fueling this migration into the new-style cloud, suggested Bill Michaels, a spokesman with NEC, is "an exponential growth in data" coupled with persistent "concerns about security." The first fact is fuel for cloud, but the second, said Michaels, is prompting enterprises to put their data in private clouds, where they can call more of the shots around security.
"The organizations we see moving into the cloud are not using public clouds, they are using private clouds," agreed Kent Christensen, virtualization practice manager at DataLink, a data center firm. "They are not saving that much money against traditional data centers."
That is the rub: public clouds can provide highly cost effective computing where resources are shared, costs can be low as users pay as they go but, increasingly, the emerging solution that is gaining favor with large enterprise is what some experts call "blended," others call "hybrid" clouds. What that provides is a mix of traditional data center plus use of a private cloud plus limited use of a public cloud (the last mainly for stowing the least sensitive and business critical apps and data).
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