2010's big cloud question: Where should I run my application?

Now you have to deal with the location for development and deployment, whether you go traditional, public, or private

I enjoyed Bill Claybrook's recent article "Cloud vs. in-house: Where to run that app?" While he covered the basic host-versus-outsource decisions, as well as the new architectural options of public and private clouds, what was most interesting is the dilemma many in IT are finding around having new choices.

Let's limit this question to new applications: Where should you build them? On-premise using traditional platforms? Public cloud? Or private cloud? While the questions in the past were just around the hardware, software, and development platform, now you have to deal with the location for development and deployment, and whether you go traditional, public cloud, or private cloud.

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The best approach that I've found is to consider your requirements first, and see if you can knock a few platform contenders off the list. You need to examine -- in order -- security, privacy, compliance, performance, and then features and functions of the platform.

You do this so that you can knock public clouds out of contention quickly, if indeed they aren't a good fit. In many instances, application requirements around security and privacy will be enough not to consider public clouds, and legal issues may dictate where applications and data can reside. If the application is a good candidate for public clouds, you then can take into account the development, testing, and deployment features of the public cloud offerings -- typically, infrastructure and platform providers such as Microsoft Azure, Google App Engine, and Salesforce.com's Force.com.

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