3 elements of good clouds

As the tech community finally gets to work on cloud computing, these tips will help you move in the right direction

We in IT finally seem to be getting to work on this whole cloud computing thing, rather than standing around arguing the benefits of private versus public clouds or trying to define elasticity. Good for us, but considering that most organizations have no experience building clouds, I put together a few items that should be a part of the process. (Note: I'm focusing on clouds built by enterprises.)

Loose coupling. To build a cloud or cloud-based applications on an infrastructure or platform system, you must create distributed components, such as processes, that are not tightly bound to each other. As a test, a cloud component should be able to stop working, yet not halt other components. Loose coupling leads to good architecture, good SOA, and good clouds. It provides you with options in the future when looking to relocate functions from cloud to cloud, including private, public, hybrid, or community, whether on site or off.

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Governance and security are systemic. I often hear, "Oh yeah, security," or "What is governance?" In the world of cloud computing, that's not good. Both governance and security are architectural patterns that should be considered during scoping, design, and development. Security, for example, needs to be engineered inside the cloud, including the way to approach identity management and encryption for data in flight and at rest. You can't bolt on technology and hope for the best. On the upside, it's much easier to do this right than you think, and there are great technologies available to leverage.

Testing and staging. Don't forget about testing your company's cloud as it is being built. While you may be tempted to test within a production cloud, that's typically a bad idea. Just as with traditional system development, you need environments that replicate production to test new functionality. Otherwise, you risk crashing a production cloud. Yes, clouds can crash. Don't be the crasher or the crashee.

Of course, there are a many more quick and dirty tips to make better clouds. These are just my top three.

This article, "3 elements of good clouds," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and follow the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.