In both my previous blogs, Part-1 and Part-2 , I have covered cloud computing right from its definition, concept and history to its service and deployment models. In this blog, I talk of the pros and cons of cloud computing and discuss on its future.
- Time Saving: Keeps you focused on your business goals than managing infrastructure.
- Cost efficient & Cap-Ex free: There is no infrastructure setup or managing cost hence it can significantly lower the company’s IT expenses. Besides, cloud computing services are typically pay as you go, so there’s no need for capital expenditure at all. And because cloud computing is much faster to deploy, businesses have minimal project start-up costs and predictable ongoing operating expenses.
- Scalable : Dynamic scaling to support the increased demands.
- Automatic Software Updates: Cloud computing suppliers do the server maintenance including security updates themselves, freeing up their customers’ time and resources for other tasks.
- Speed and Agility: Quickly develop and deploy applications.
- Increased Collaboration: Cloud computing increases collaboration by allowing all employees – wherever they are – to sync up and work on documents and shared apps simultaneously, and follow colleagues and records to receive critical updates in real time.
- Backup, recovery and Info access: The data is stored back in the cloud and is available anytime and every time. This data can be accessed on any portable device even on the go as long as there is internet access.
- Geo Redundancy: In case of natural calamities resulting in a complete datacenter failure, the data is rerouted to a different datacenter and remains accessible continuously.
- Global Reach: Whether you are a large global company or small start-up, you may have potential customers around the world. With traditional infrastructure, it’s hard to deliver great performance to a broadly distributed user base and most companies focus on one geographic region at a time to save costs and time. With Cloud Computing, the game changes .Data centers spread across different global locations are interconnected thereby allowing to easily deploy your applications globally. This means you can provide a lower latency and better experience for your customers at minimal cost.
- Environmental Friendly: Businesses using cloud computing only use the server space they need, which decreases their carbon footprint. SMEs get the most benefit. For small companies, the cut in energy use and carbon emissions is likely to be 90%.
- Security & Attacks: Physical control of the Private Cloud equipment is more secure than having the equipment off site and under someone else’s control. As cloud computing uses increase, it is likely that more hackers find new ways to exploit system vulnerabilities. Hence cloud computing is vulnerable to threats. Data breach is a big concern in cloud computing. A compromised server could significantly harm the users as well as cloud providers. A variety of information could be stolen.
- Privacy: The greater use of cloud services has given access to a plethora of data. Cloud computing poses privacy concerns because the service provider can access the data that is on the cloud at any time. It could accidentally or deliberately alter or even delete information. Cloud model has been criticized for giving hosting companies greater ease to control and thus to monitor at will communication between host company and end user, and access user data (with or without permission).
- Absence of Common Standards: Because cloud computing is still relatively new, standards are still being developed. Many cloud platforms and services are proprietary meaning that they are built on the specific standards, tools and protocols developed by a particular vendor for its particular cloud offering. This can make migrating off a proprietary cloud platform complicated and expensive. Cloud piece parts such as cloud storage systems offer APIs which are often incompatible with each other. The result is complicated migration between backends and makes it difficult to integrate data spread across various locations. The solution to this is for clouds to adopt common standards.
- Possession and Ownership: One important but not often mentioned problem with cloud computing is the problem of who is in “possession” of the data. If a cloud company is the possessor of the data, the possessor has certain legal rights. If the cloud company is the “custodian” of the data, then a different set of rights would apply. The next problem in the legalities of cloud computing is the problem of legal ownership of the data. Many Terms of Service agreements are silent on the question of ownership. These legal issues are not confined to the time period in which the cloud-based application is actively being used. There must also be consideration for what happens when the provider-customer relationship ends. However, in the case of provider insolvencies or bankruptcy the state of the data may become blurred.
- Consumer end devices: The increased use of cloud computing and due to the increasing popularity of cheaper low storage devices that stream all content via the cloud, the demand for high storage capacity consumer end devices has reduced.
- Performance Interference and noisy neighbors: Due to its multi-tenant nature and resource sharing, cloud computing must also deal with the “noisy neighbor” effect. This effect indicates that in a shared infrastructure, the activity of a virtual machine on a neighboring core on the same physical host may lead to increased performance degradation of the virtual machine’s in the same physical host, due to issues such as cache contamination. Due to the fact that the neighboring virtual machine may be activated or deactivated at arbitrary times, the result is an increased variation in the actual performance of cloud resources. This effect seems to be dependent on the nature of the applications that run inside the virtual machines but also other factors such as scheduling parameters.
The very word “Cloud Computing” has had its share of agreements and disagreements over the years. The ambiguity still remains if cloud is a boon or bane, as security and privacy concerns prevail. These disadvantages may be addressed over time as cloud computing being a relatively new technology and therefore still as much a research topic, as it is a market offering.
The future has cloud computing focusing more on mobility. As Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella states “I don’t think of the cloud and mobile as two things. They are two facets of one thing. The cloud was created to enable mobility. And mobile devices are really uninteresting without the cloud. That’s why I talk about them together. Mobile without cloud is limiting. The cloud without mobile is mostly latent potential. But the place where they meet is magic. And in the full arc of time, we will get to a world of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence that powers all our daily experiences.”
The future of the internet and cloud computing have in the past proved hard to predict, but so long as companies strive to connect the world and serve that connected world in new ways, there will always be a need for both the internet and cloud computing. The cloud will shape our life and make it easier and smarter.