Cloud computing – balancing flexibility with complexity

justice scaleIn the “Cloud Computing without the hype – an executive guide” Lustratus report, available at no charge from the Lustratus store, one of the trade-offs I touch on is flexibility against complexity.

To be more accurate, flexibility in this case refers to the ability to serve many different use cases as opposed to a specific one.

This is an important consideration for any company looking to start using Cloud Computing. Basically, there are three primary Cloud service models; Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). In really simple terms, an IaaS cloud provides the user with virtual infrastructure (eg storage space, server, etc), PaaS offers a virtual platform where the user can run home-developed applications (eg a virtual server with an application server, database and development tools) and SaaS provides access to third-party supplied applications running in the cloud.

The decision of which is the most appropriate choice is often a trade-off. The attraction of SaaS is that it is a turn-key option – the applications are all ready to roll, and the user just uses them. This is pretty simple, but the user can only use those applications supplied. There is no ability to build new applications to do other things. Hence this approach is specific to the particular business problem addressed by the packaged application.

PaaS offers more flexibility of usage. A user builds the applications that will run in the cloud, and can therefore serve the needs of many different business needs. However, this requires a lot of development and testing work, and flexibility is restricted by the pre-packaged platform and tools offered by the PaaS provider. So, if the platform is WebSphere with DB2, and the user wants to build a .NET application for Windows, then tough.

IaaS offers the most flexibility, in that it effectively offers the infrastructure pieces and the user can then use them in any way necessary. However, of course, in this option the user is left with all the work. It is like being supplied with the raw hardware and having to develop all the necessary pieces to deliver the project.

So, when companies are looking at their Cloud strategies, it is important to consider how to balance this tradeoff between complexity/effort and flexibility/applicability.

Steve

Post to Twitter Post to Delicious Post to Facebook Post to LinkedIn

Comments are closed.


Twitter Goodies

Recent Comments

  • Gravatar icon of AJ Brown AJ Brown
    November 1, 2010 (8:36)
    CICS and PHP - DON'T PANIC It's great to see transactional support of any kind for a cloud language... be it PHP or not (whi...
  • Gravatar icon of Vivekanand Kurdikeri Vivekanand Kurdikeri
    July 16, 2010 (12:41)
    Does Micro Focus Server for SOA miss the point? I think Micro Focus has done a tremodeous introduction of Web Service from a COBOL. May not be a ...
  • Gravatar icon of Ian J Mitchell Ian J Mitchell
    June 15, 2010 (6:14)
    CICS and PHP - DON'T PANIC Hi Steve, Well, we don't actually *demand* that you host the PHP in regions separate to those ru...
  • Gravatar icon of Rick Warren Rick Warren
    April 3, 2010 (12:27)
    AMQP - Great idea, but it will never work As someone who has worked on DDS from an implementation perspective as well as an OMG standards p...
  • Gravatar icon of Steve Craggs Steve Craggs
    December 12, 2009 (9:15)
    Did Teilhard's JuxtaComm patent wipe out IBM, Microsoft and SAP? Subsequent to my post, the Calgary Herald ran an article (http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/P...
  • Gravatar icon of John O'Hara John O'Hara
    December 10, 2009 (9:01)
    AMQP - Great idea, but it will never work Now, this is a late reply! @Thorlin. I looked at DDS before embarking on AMQP (I also looked a...
  • Gravatar icon of Jeff Darcy Jeff Darcy
    December 7, 2009 (2:40)
    Come in Texas East District Court, your time is up The important thing to remember about patents is that they're all about the claims. While the bu...
  • Gravatar icon of Emil Emil
    October 27, 2009 (9:08)
    BAM vs BI Good article. Thanks, Emil
  • Gravatar icon of Business Opportunities Business Opportunities
    October 23, 2009 (11:04)
    So Oracle got Sun - but why? Oracle has stepped up the rhetoric when it comes to its plans for Sun. In a message to Sun custom...
  • Gravatar icon of Gaurav Agarwal Gaurav Agarwal
    September 16, 2009 (1:15)
    IBM gets Cognos to fill the gaps IBM has two BAM solutions now Cognos Now! and Websphere Business Monitor. Why two BAM solutions f...