Monday, November 1, 2010

The Corporate On-Premises Power Plant

Every second person that attempts to explain to a newbie what Cloud Computing is all about uses the analogy of Electricity as a utility we all consume as a service. This analogy emphasizes the economical benefits of utilizing electricity that is generated at a huge power plant: The costs are much cheaper by leveraging the economy of scale, usage fluctuations are easily addressed, you pay for what you use, etc.

Like many other analogies, also this one is limited. I very much agree with James Urquhart who
wrote in his blog post “In cloud computing, data is not electricity” that while I do not care which electrons are being served to my refrigerator by the power plant, I do care very much which data bits are served to my PC from the remote data center that I am using.

Some use other utility services as an analogy to Cloud computing. For example, office services, car leasing, or water supply.

Nevertheless, Electricity is still the best analogy, especially when it comes to businesses.

Software and Electricity are two services without them most enterprises cannot work. Being out of toilet paper, or without water for a few hours would not make much difference for most enterprises (putting aside the time wasted in complaints of frustrated employees) but business continuity is not affected. Once software or electricity goes down, business continuity is gone, and money is lost.

For this reason many organizations that cannot afford to have their business continuity disrupted invest in their own, small-size, on premise power plant - aka an Electric Generator.

On-Premises Power Plant

It is clear for many that in order to insure business continuity; enterprises must have an on-premise backup option to cope with unexpected power-failures.

In this respect the Electricity analogy still stands. When it comes to cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service, enterprises realizes that an on-premise option of their software and local replication of its data is a must-have requirement.

Cloud computing is far from being at the maturity stage of nation-wide electric grids. This is why a hybrid deployment capability (off-premise and on-premise) is imperative.

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