This buzz word “cloud" has been abused and beaten to senseless meaningless. Every company and service provider can sprinkle it as they want.
At a very basic understanding the entire global network of computers and wide area network in all the old computer network diagrams was drawn as a cloud. This makes the internet a cloud and your computer, tablet, or phone that is always connected to it also a cloud system. This is not what should be meant when a service provider offers cloud services.
There are four (maybe more) key things to understand what should be a cloud service. First the “cloud" service and it’s various components are redundant. Second they are always on and available. Third the system and software has some intelligence built into it to prevent anything that may affect your business operation or the entire datacenter network. Fourth, how complex is the cloud service to manage and configure by your in house team?
Let’s for example take any hosting service provider that is claiming to offer “cloud hosting”. On the surface seeing words such as “virtualization”, “cloud” may seem to the buyer the service is a cloud hosting service. Being a cloud service provider virtualization is a component but it’s not a be all to being a cloud service provider.
Is it cloud? let’s take a look:
Hope this will help anyone looking into signing up with a cloud service provider. The major service providers you might be interested in can easily answer things presented here. It's good to know their answers and the answers may not be same for each service provider. It's good for all parties involved have grasp of their systems to make better decisions.
- Redundancy: Suppose you are able to resize the virtual hardware to allow for seasonal increased traffic. While the system is resized your sites are down. If there is a OS software or hardware failure can the traffic be routed easily in time without loosing your operation?
- Always on: What happens when system is updated, or patches are applied? Your developer makes a minor change to a application. Now the entire application has to be rebuilt and published (“deployed”) to cloud service requiring special development environment.
- Intelligence: Suppose all of a sudden your application is mentioned on a major broadcast network, newspaper, or magazine. Does your cloud hosting adapt quickly to take advantage of the situation? Is the service intelligent enough to determin what maybe threats to your application and what is real traffic interested in your products or looking to gain more information or make a purchase.
- Manageable: How complex is it for your in house team to manage the components of the cloud service? Suppose there is an issue. Do all your team members have various user level permissions to take action in their own respects? From managers, dba , server side developer, to client side developers and sales people who have the information available to communicate issues to clients?