If not Server Efficiency, then Why Cloud?

It is pretty clear from the data in my previous post, hardware efficiency isn’t the reason for moving to the cloud. In fact there seems to me more hardware “waste” in the cloud than in data centers. So why is the move to the cloud considered inevitable?

The reason that companies are adopting cloud computing (and have already adopted it precursor – virtualization) is to enhance the speed and agility of their IT departments, not hardware cost reduction (Speed, Agility, Not Cost Reduction, Drive Cloud by Esther Shein in Network Computing).  The same is also apparent if you look at where cloud computing is being adopted first – scalable websites and test\dev.

Scalable website tend to be built on stateless applications that don’t have rigorous consistency requirements, but do need massive scale. These types of applications are a perfect fit for today’s cloud. Add to that the fact that the actual scale needed by these websites is very elastic and you have a perfect cloud use case. Dev\Test is also a good fit – the ability to quickly build and tear down environments, where agility and elasticity take precedence over performance and hardening.

The challenge for the cloud will be traditional production and transactional applications. In these applications the application layer has a set of requirements that make achieving the elasticity of the cloud much more of a challenge. The only way the cloud will make real inroads into these environments is when the agility and elasticity of the stateless cloud can be achieved for traditional applications.


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