Vanilla, Chocolate & Cloud Favorites

What’s Your Favorite Cloud Flavor?

Just as there’s vanilla and chocolate and other ice cream flavors that different people gravitate towards, there are four favorite flavors today to cloud computing, according to an article I just read on IT World. A lot of this I’ve heard already, and certainly seen already among my Monitis monitoring services client base.

One is internal or private clouds — which allow a company to use virtualization and management software to tie together servers, storage, networks data and apps. The end goal is to allow companies to shift storage, computing power or other resources invisibly from one place to another to give all end users in an enterprise all the resources they need — but no more than that.   And private clouds should also give companies a lot of management automation and let business units charge back for services used.

Another favorite flavor is an external cloud — the kind that many small and mid-sized businesses gravitate to because it is cost effective, eliminates the need for IT proficiency, but unfortunately is also the kind that is worried about by a lot of folks for security reasons. Goodness knows there’s been plenty of evidence that they’re not perfect and are subject to service denials and database invasions (the whole Google China incident).  By the way, the article quotes recent Portio Research that says 68% of respondents are worried about security enough to hold them back from starting cloud projects.

Then there’s the Hybrid approach to cloud computing — a mix of internal clouds, external cloud services and traditional SaaS options. This is the flavor most companies relish, and it’s the near future of cloud computing, says the article. Smaller-scale workspace on demand services, for instance those offered by CloudShare, Soonr or Microsoft Azure, often work.

SaaS is the fourth flavor, and apparently the vanilla of the group, according to the article. “For those looking for an even smaller slice of additional functionality or capacity, plain-jane SaaS may be the way to go,” says the piece. “The quickest way to get into cloud computing is to sign up for free email at Yahoo or Google, or for productivity apps from Zoho, 37Signals or a host of other services aimed at businesses or individuals.”

Whatever flavor of the cloud your company leans toward, there are opportunities for every type of enterprise. And considering the options out there, I can’t think of any wiser strategy than to employ monitoring of cloud apps and cloud platforms as a complement to employing clouds.