Amazon.com recently announced a public beta of new features that include auto-scaling, monitoring, and load balancing. In a blog post, cloud management vendor RightScale said the new capabilities were a step in the right direction but appeared to lack necessary capabilities such as configuration management and lifecycle management.
Myth No. 3: The cloud reduces your workload
In the long run, maybe. But to get started, you have to figure out which model of cloud computing is right for you; which applications or services are best suited to it; and how to ensure the proper levels of security, compliance, and uptime. And remember, monitoring the performance of any vendor takes extra time.
"When you're running production applications, there's a lot of thinking that goes on in terms of redundancy, in terms of reliability, in terms of performance and latencies," says Thorsten von Eicken, CTO and founder of RightScale. Before moving applications to the cloud, customers need to ensure those requirements are met, he says, calling it "wishful thinking" that cloud-based systems automatically manage themselves.
In addition, not all apps are right for the cloud. Those relying on clustered servers, for example, aren't good fits for cloud environments where they share resources with other customers, says James Staten, a principal analyst at Forrester Research. That's because they require identical configuration of each server and large dedicated bandwidth among servers, which can't always be guaranteed by a cloud vendor. Again, thinking through these issues requires work, at least up front.
Myth No. 4: You can seamlessly blend your private "cloud" (your virtualized datacenter) with public cloud providers
Some cloud evangelists hold out the promise of the best of both worlds: the control provided by an in-house datacenter and the low cost and flexibility provided by the cloud, with the ability to drag and drop applications, storage, and servers among them as needed.
But it's not yet that easy, at least for a complex multitier application that depends on internal databases and that serves thousands of users with ever-changing access rights.
"Currently, it takes a lot of footwork, and a lot of manual reconfiguration, and lots of engineering effort" to move applications among public and private clouds, says Staten. And even then, "we're still in the 'I hope it works' phase." Seamless integration is easier if customers are running the same platforms in both the public and private clouds, he says, but for the typical, more complex environments standards efforts such as the Open Virtualization Format are still "very basic" attempts to ease interoperability.
The key requirements, says Siemens' Kollar, are a security infrastructure that can span both environments, secure and cost-effective ways to either replicate data or access it across the public and private clouds, and orchestration software to ensure that services are working as required and proper steps taken to repair them if they aren't.