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The Cloud of Destiny


The Cloud of Destiny

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Bob Abernethy
Bob Abernethy
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chrise (4/13/2009)

I think it's a great concept. It's going back to the old timesharing days when you'd log on to an IBM mainframe and pay for what you used.


I also think of the cloud as similar to a big 'ol mainframe in the sky. Whether it's a mainframe or lots of smaller servers (each of which may have qualified as "mainframes" years ago)... the users and people who write the checks could care less about where all the data, apps, security, etc. are stored and implemented. They just want it to "work". And "work" means different things to different people, some of whom have a more focused (i.e. smaller) perspective, and some of whom have a much bigger picture in mind. But the question "Will it save us money?" is a biggie in this equation.

So my forecast is that it is going to get cloudier and cloudier out there... for SQL Server and everything else... and I don't mean that in a bad way.
James Cross-174534
James Cross-174534
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Hi

My gravest concern with the cloud is the 'sovereignty' of the data.

I work for central government in New Zealand. On paper NZ`s small scale is a good candidate for the cloud. But, who controls the data? What if the Singapore (say) datacentre is closed down by the authorities local to the datacentre and access to my data is denied? At the moment, to me, that is an unacceptable risk.

Between ORM and the cloud the DBA`s job is changing..

Cheers

James
mark johnson-152566
mark johnson-152566
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I think Steve has hit it on the head. It is not going to be for all apps or all forms of business. The risk, just like the risk assocatied with a full recovery or a simple recovery, has to be thought about discussed and the cost has to be evaulated. DBA's will be needed and used, if not at the smaller company's on the cloud then at the host for the cloud. At the larger companies on the cloud there will probably still be dba's/architects available to help understand, use and protect the data. And there will be companies that will not move to the cloud, because it makes more sense not to. Just as there are applications that will leverage SAN's, Virtual servers in house well there will be those that are better off on standalone servers and disk's.

Nothing really scarry here, if we have our eye's open and are open to our managment about the risk's involved.

Mark :-)
mark johnson-152566
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I am ready for quantum computing on the cloud. Everytime I think about it my mind goes into time warp and I see multiple answers all at one time. Then I pick one and everything else collapses and disappears.Hehe
DPhillips-731960
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Steve Jones - Editor (4/13/2009)
roger.plowman (4/13/2009)
Data in the cloud? Are you *NUTS*???


Salesforce.com (and similar entities)
Lots of online payroll companies.

It can, and is working. For every system no, but it does make sense in places.


There is quite a bit of misunderstanding about "cloud" computing. I feel compelled to dispel a few myths and add some of my own thoughts here:

1. Cloud computing will never be cheaper than local hosting. The pay scale must of necessity pay for the equipment it runs on. Far too many have been duped into thinking otherwise. Payroll, lead management, and all other segments fall into this. The only types of tasks/needs saved by centralization are those that are highly regulated, and serve less brain damage to let someone else handle it. Note: I say again - this does not make it cheaper.

2. There is an assumption that one can put their particular need in the hands of an expert who deals with many of the same types of needs for many others, and all gain orders of magnitude of savings. This is patently misguided. No entity is more responsible for the need or service than the organization that owns it and must remain stable with it. Outsource and cloud companies do as little as possible for price, and levels of complexity are added to administer outsourced projects. Personnel counts do not diminish; they are only somewhat transferred and cost more.

3. MS SQL Server is currently nowhere near cloud capable for any enterprise situation. At this time it is really only positioned for web-facing lookup DBMS, order capture systems, and other thin-client needs. Cloud MS SQL is not even close to being able to house Marketing Databases, analytics, major BI processing, and etcetera. There is no way that in two years that business as a whole will lean on the cloud first. New, un-learned businesses maybe... but they will pay a painful price.

4. Using examples such as Salesforce.com and Payroll processing, without examples to prove validity and cost savings, shows only that many are excited about the ideas, but do not really pay attention to TCO. Having experience with both, I can quantifiably testify against and refute any that claim that they are either better and/or cheaper alternatives. In some cases it is merely less brain damage to a company to not have to "get up and running", but cost far more long term as roadblocks and customization take toll on the TCO bottom line. Do they work? Yes. Can they be made to work for your specific enterprise? Yes - for a price. I have seen companies pay 3 times as much as what it would have cost them to host and man locally their own process or need, but due to tailored marketing to execs that are lacking in IT knowledge, and to all the hype in-tow, bought in.

5. The internet is not nearly fast enough for most enterprise back-office needs.

Other points to ponder:

- Most here would agree that a poor foundational design can ultimately cost 10 times (and more) what building it right the first time would have cost, if it doesn't kill the business. Why then would one just hand that much potential future over to some wispy vaporware system? If a business does not like it after 1, 2, or 3 years, it bites to be you because it is not that easy to extract a business from such an extension.

- I believe that most on this forum would also agree that a process or system designed specifically for a need is far more stable, speedier, and maintainable, than a solution that tries to be all things to all needs. The IT industry as a whole keeps ping-ponging between the poles of centralized processing, and distributed processing. Terminal services threatened to change the desktop into thin ware, much as the old dead-terminal-on-mainframe days. The problem is, mainframes and widely centralized processing equipment cannot be maintained at the same rate as distributed processing can, and the cost is prohibitive. So the pendulum keeps swinging, and we keep learning the lessons over and over.

- A company must be responsible and accountable for its own data and processes. Too many execs hand it over expecting things to "just work as advertised", and then blame "unforeseen" issues on project failures. The problem is, whose responsibility was it to foresee in the first place? How does this happen? Execs usually trust the sales pitch in an outsource offer, but the legal jargon in the actual agreement keeps them from reclaiming damages, and also, from leaving early (short of bankruptcy).

RDBMS as a whole are still deeply in the realm of local management, and likely will still be so in 5 to 10 years... and it still won't be cheaper.
Steve Jones
Steve Jones
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Excellent points, dphillips, but cost isn't always the reason to do something. Web hosting companies are cheaper for some people, not others. They are also better run in some cases, not in others. Depends on who you are. Sometimes outsourcing for more money, and more convenience, and less investment risk, is worth it.

Cloud computing is vaporware now, and I think it will be for a few years, but VMs were like that as well. I've been VM'ing since 99, and it's come a long way.

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mark johnson-152566
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It seems to me that the Cloud Computing concept is geared toward and good for small to midsize groups that are starting up or that do not want to deal with their own computing needs.

A new company that needs a set of tools but does not want to make that investment now as it need to pump it's capital into other parts of it's business so it rents from the cloud the apps and storage it needs until it tunrs the next corner of it's business.

It seems that once the corner of that business turns, then they start looking at their own systems.

There are always trade offs as well. I was at a mature larger company that decided to outsource the majority of it's IT. First the sla's were changed to fit the outsource company, not the larger client company. Then the nickel and dime work started, oh you would like x well that is not a standard that is extra etc.

Mark
DPhillips-731960
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Steve Jones - Editor (4/15/2009)
Excellent points, dphillips, but cost isn't always the reason to do something. Web hosting companies are cheaper for some people, not others. They are also better run in some cases, not in others. Depends on who you are. Sometimes outsourcing for more money, and more convenience, and less investment risk, is worth it.

Cloud computing is vaporware now, and I think it will be for a few years, but VMs were like that as well. I've been VM'ing since 99, and it's come a long way.



I believe we are agreed. However, the "Depends on who you are" part is a little off though. It is more like, it depends on what you know, what resources you have, and how to make the best use of time. Time is the most critical asset. While most of my statements focus on cost and thoughtful planning, there is the "Brain Damage" dimension that says, "I don't want to deal with this facet, and am willing to pay the price to keep focus elsewhere."

For example, in a past life, I was a mechanic... an airplane mechanic. These days, I don't want to do mess with that type of work anymore, and would rather pay someone else to do it (at a greater cost to me) to not have to deal with being a grease and fuel monkey.

The problem is, most conversations about the cloud make it sound like some rosy cheap and fast place to forget ones responsibilities, as they will magically be wisped away. That is the pitch given to execs. "Everyone is doing it, it must be the financial responsible thing to do!" Most do not know how bad the decision was until 1.5 to 3 years down the road, and have costly decisions to make. It too closely follows the model of temptation and eventual entrapment, and quite often pushes aside sound cost and functional analysis.

It is not new technology; it is simply repackaged centralized computing, on a far grander scale, but plagued with the same issues that centralized vs. distributed have always dealt with. But boy it sure looks more zingy and "blue sky" than ever!
Bob Abernethy
Bob Abernethy
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I just don't think it's at all accurate to say or to imply that the many companies who made the decision to use salesforce.com or other SaaS solutions all made the wrong decision or made some shortsighted decision. And no, I'm not affiliated with salesforce.com in any way either - they are just a convenient reference since they are so well-known.

I'm sure that the vast majority of the decision-makers in these thousands of companies are intelligent profesisonals who went through a valid decision-making process that took into account the salient factors for their companies, and were not merely hoodwinked or mesmerized by some slick brochures or fast-talking sales reps. Let's face it, the SaaS companies don't have any monopoly on slick marketing or salespeople. There have to be other reasons for the success of SaaS offerings, and since they have already been mentioned in this thread I won't repeat them, but they are real and although SaaS may not be for every company or every application, it obviously works for many.
Michael Valentine Jones
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Bob Abernethy (4/15/2009)
...I'm sure that the vast majority of the decision-makers in these thousands of companies are intelligent profesisonals who went through a valid decision-making process that took into account the salient factors for their companies, and were not merely hoodwinked or mesmerized by some slick brochures or fast-talking sales reps...



I hope you were trying to be ironic.
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