Cloud Computing Myth: Less know-how is needed

I recently found an interesting statement in an article which describes the advantages of cloud computing. A caption was named “It’s not needed to build additional know-how within the company”. This is totally wrong. On the contrary it’s exactly the opposite. It is more knowledge needed as each vendor is promising.

There is a lack of knowledge

The kind and amount of the needed knowledge depends on the service that is used from the cloud. For an alleged high-standardized software-as-a-service (SaaS) application like e-mail there is less knowledge needed regarding the service and its characteristics compared to a service, which maps a certain process.

For the use of infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) it looks quite different. Although the provider takes care about building, operating and maintaining the physical infrastructure in this case. The responsibility for the virtual infrastructure (IaaS) behooves by the customer. The provider itself – for fee-based support – or certified system integrator help here by building and operating. It’s the same while operating an own application on a cloud infrastructure. The cloud provider is not responsible and just serves the infrastructure and means and ways with APIs, web interfaces and sometimes added value services, to help customers with the development. In this context one need to understand, that depending on the cloud scale – scale out vs. scale up – the application have to be developed completely different – namely distributed and automatically scalable across multiple systems (scale out) – as in the case of a non-cloud environment. This architecturally knowledge is lacking in most companies at every nook and corner, which is also due to the fact that colleges and universities have not taught this kind of programmatic thinking.

Cloud computing is still more complex than it appears at first glance. The prime example for this is Netflix. The U.S. video-on-demand provider operates its platform within a public cloud infrastructure (Amazon AWS). In addition to an extensive production system, which ensures the scalable and high-performance operation, it also has developed an extensive test suite – the Netflix Symian Army – which is only responsible for ensuring the smooth operation of the production system – inter alia virtual machines are constantly arbitrarily being shot down, but the production system must still continue to function properly.

The demand for the managed cloud rises

Although, the deployment model can less reduce the complexity, but the responsibility and the necessary know-how can be shifted. Within a public cloud the self-service rules. This means that the customer is first 100 percent on his own and is solely responsible for the development and operation of his application.

This, many companies have recognized and confess to themselves that they either do not have the necessary knowledge, staff and other resources to successfully use a public cloud (IaaS). Instead, they prefer or expect help from the cloud providers. In these cases it is not about public cloud providers, but managed cloud/ business cloud providers who also help in addition to infrastructure with professional services.

Find more on the topic of managed cloud at “The importance of the Managed Cloud for the enterprise“.