Global Analyst Insights by Rene Buest

Checklist: Check a Cloud Computing provider for authenticity

By on December 1, 2012 in Analysis with 0 Comments

Increasingly the question is asked, how an authentic Cloud Computing offer can be recognized. It is often said: “We let our data processing be dealt with by a service provider in their data center. We are then already using Cloud, right?” Caution! Cloud Computing has recently been abused by the marketing departments of various providers, resulting in a dilution of the concept taking place. What was once for example, a “managed server”, is now simply a “Cloud server”. Eventually however, only the sticker was replaced. This “principle” is also known as Cloud-Washing.

Check a Cloud Computing provider for authenticity

Cloud Computing and its characteristics

Cloud Computing primarily refers to a service model, with which (theoretically unlimited) IT resources such as computational power, disk space, applications and other types of services-on-demand can be accessed. The resources will be charged based only on the pay-as-you-go concept , which is in fact used at present.

In addition to the known characteristics of Cloud Computing, there are other typical occurrences that distinguish a Cloud. Besides general characteristics, these also include technical ones as well as the viewing angle from the perspective of a company.

General Characteristics

Elasticity
Cloud allows you to scale resources up and down as required. The time required is in the range of seconds and minutes, not weeks or months.

Economies of Scale
The Cloud Computing provider is able to exploit economies of scale and can obtain the required infrastructure for Cloud Computing such as power, cooling, bandwidth and hardware at the best possible price.

Pay as you Go
This is more about a general feature rather than a commercial one. Through the use of Cloud, technicians reach decisions regarding the allocation of resources, which have a direct impact on the consumption of resources and the extent of total costs. Therefore in future, everyone has a duty to lead the company more efficiently.

Technical Characteristics

Rapid scalability
Additional resources can be bought on-Demand in a matter of minutes in order to meet the requirements of unexpected situations when needed. These include e.g. complex calculations or an unexpectedly high number of visitors on the website. If the resources are no longer needed, they can be returned to Cloud.

Resources are abstract and uncomplicated
The hardware needed for the operation of a Cloud changes and is constantly being improved. However, it is the Cloud Computing provider’s job to take care of this. A Cloud Computing user no longer has to deal with the details behind a Cloud.

A Cloud consists of individual modules
The IT resources of a Cloud Computing provider consist of small modules. This means they are available separately and are calculated separately. A user has the option of not using any resources, using all of them, or just using a few, which are provided to him as a service via the Cloud.

Experimentation is cost-effective
Cloud Computing removes the economic hurdle for experimenting. This allows new ideas to be tested without long-term investment in the required hardware, in which case one might resort to temporary resources.

Characteristics from the perspective of a company

No upfront investment
Cloud Computing was created to share resources when necessary. For this reason, no one-time or large investments are necessary before the actual need arises.

Variable costs that come from fixed costs
Instead of relying on a fixed number of resources over a long contract period (usually one to three years), Cloud Computing enables the use of resources to be changed in real-time.

Investments become overheads
Investments are usually spread over a long period, leading to a multi-year commitment to using a certain amount of resources. Overheads however, reflect the actual usage of Cloud services and can be modified in real-time.

Resource allocation is more granular
Cloud Computing enables minimal usage in terms of time and resources, for example, server usage per hour and the individual bytes of used memory.

The company gains flexibility
Due to the fact that a company no longer binds itself to resources for the long term, it is able to respond to changes more quickly, with reference to the required amounts and the type of business activity.

The provider remains under observation
The core business of Cloud Computing providers is to provide its Cloud for public use. Therefore, it has a strong incentive to provide its services so that they are reliable, applicable and cost-effective. Cloud therefore reflects the core competencies of a provider once again.

Costs are associative
Due to Cloud Computing’s flexible resource allocation model, it is just as easy to apply and operate 100 servers for an hour as it is to do so with a server for 100 hours. It encourages innovative thinking in terms of solutions to problems that are only made possible by massive scaling.

The Checklist

Let it be understood that as a rule, you cannot and should not look into the interior. In the case of a Cloud, it is a black box which is either controlled via an API (interface) or a web interface. It thus depends on the external values that you can see and observe directly.

Checklist: Check a Cloud Computing provider for authenticity


The checklist can also be viewed and downloaded as a PDF at Checklist: Check a Cloud Computing provider for authenticity.


Bildquelle: ©Claaslietz / PIXELIO

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About the Author

About the Author: Rene Buest is Gartner Analyst covering Infrastructure Services & Digital Operations. Prior to that he was Director of Technology Research at Arago, Senior Analyst and Cloud Practice Lead at Crisp Research, Principal Analyst at New Age Disruption and member of the worldwide Gigaom Research Analyst Network. Rene is considered as top cloud computing analyst in Germany and one of the worldwide top analysts in this area. In addition, he is one of the world’s top cloud computing influencers and belongs to the top 100 cloud computing experts on Twitter and Google+. Since the mid-90s he is focused on the strategic use of information technology in businesses and the IT impact on our society as well as disruptive technologies. Rene Buest is the author of numerous professional technology articles. He regularly writes for well-known IT publications like Computerwoche, CIO Magazin, LANline as well as Silicon.de and is cited in German and international media – including New York Times, Forbes Magazin, Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Wirtschaftswoche, Computerwoche, CIO, Manager Magazin and Harvard Business Manager. Furthermore Rene Buest is speaker and participant of experts rounds. He is founder of CloudUser.de and writes about cloud computing, IT infrastructure, technologies, management and strategies. He holds a diploma in computer engineering from the Hochschule Bremen (Dipl.-Informatiker (FH)) as well as a M.Sc. in IT-Management and Information Systems from the FHDW Paderborn. .

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