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UK Web hosting business NEWS - Cloud Computing

Cloud computing - pros and cons

 

August 2009

Developing in the Cloud... The pros and cons

As Cloud Computing is in its infancy the true issues have yet to be made obvious. It is only when such systems have been used for a considerable time that the difficulties arise. A new system, even properly developed and abstracted for use in the cloud, will run fine for a time but will only show its weaknesses when it's strained, which takes time and growth.

 

 

 

Advantages/positives

- currently these include:
  • Dynamism - providing the ability to expand and contract as requirements arise. This benefit adds saleability to your online system which previously was only available to big organisations.
  • Ease of implementation means it should be quicker to develop.
  • Automated - so software updates and upgrades are automatically completed.
  • Incremental payments so no large initial outlay.

Disadvantages/negatives

- currently these include:
  • Software update/patches - could change security settings, assigning privileges too low, or even more alarmingly too high allowing access to your data by other parties.
  • Security concerns. Experts claim that their clouds are 100% secure - but it will not be their head on the block when things go awry. It's often stated that cloud computing security is better than most enterprises. Also, how do you decide which data to handle in the cloud and which to keep to internal systems - once decided keeping it secure could well be a full-time task.
  • Control of your data/system by third-party. Data - once in the cloud always in the cloud! Can you be sure that once you delete data from your cloud account will it not exist any more... ...or will traces remain in the cloud?
  • Law is lagging behind: could take many more years before required legal matters emerge.
  • Policy issue: dependant upon data gathered it may be illegal to export out of the country (Europeans within the EEC). This may not be an issue if the location of the cloud data centre is within the same country. What about their backups, where are these sent? It could be streamed off shore, meaning the eventual location of your data is not within your own country.
  • Latency (if the cloud data centre is located off shore) client connection time to your data may not be as fast as you envisaged.
  • Risks from third-party providers: downtime, speed of infrastructure.
  • Implementation: data integration issues are rife due to the difficulties in managing relationships, and for most the default server setup is the only option.
  • Costs can spiral quickly if usage becomes greater than projections. Also, if an account becomes compromised/hacked and then used for illegal file-sharing the costs of the bandwidth usage and processor time could escalate to extreme amounts within hours.

Take care your data could get locked into the cloud... advantages: unlimited power - disadvantages: Locked into the cloud

 

Conclusion
There are many benefits making entry to the cloud look quite attractive, however, at least for some the negative issues will far out-weigh this. Anyone using their own dedicated server often tune/reconfigure the setup to suit their own applications but this WILL NOT be an option within the cloud. Maybe the large corporations will have the power to leverage the way the cloud is configured but for the majority there will be no option but to accept the provided setup, and via a third-party.

In the long term it is likely to complement rather than replace existing traditional systems, such as shared hosting and single dedicated servers, "despite claims to the contrary, we're not about to experience a cloud revolution. The world isn't going to suddenly put all its eggs in the cloud basket." (David Tebbit, program director, freeform dynamics).

Yes it will provide dynamism but it remains to be seen if this and other positives are good enough reasons to enter the grey area of the cloud.

We will be offering Cloud Computing as one of our services soon.
If you would like to receive further details please contact us.

 


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