Tech watch: all aboard the public Cloud

Patrick Budmar

At Amazon Web Services' (AWS) Re:Invent conference in Las Vegas last year, senior vice-president, Andy Jassy, made the observation that, "if you're not planning on using the public Cloud in some significant fashion, you will be at a significant competitive disadvantage." Jassy was probably speaking to the converted, as the conference was attended by AWS partners already invested in the Cloud. Even so, his prediction highlighted the growing influence the Cloud has in today's IT landscape.

As for whether Jassy's statement rings true, Brennan IT Cloud and infrastructure services director, Nicholas Hollings, said the public Cloud should be a consideration in any IT strategy. At the same time, he said the workload to be deployed should suit the benefits provided in a public Cloud. "Not all workloads are created equal, and not all businesses require infinite scalability," he said. That is why Hollings suggests looking at the applications and their use before making the jump to the Cloud. "You will find some are best deployed on site, some work well in a hosting partner, and others are suited to a public Cloud deployment," he said.

Hollings adds the public Cloud should not be equated as the only solution to business challenges, as there is no "golden hammer". . Rackspace A/NZ general manager, Angus Dorney, said the public Cloud is well suited for many different applications and workloads. Even so, he recommends it only forms one part of an enterprise architecture strategy.

"Public cloud, in and of itself, is not a one-size-fits-all solution to a business' challenges," he said. "The focus should be on creating the right architecture to support the application and the evolution of that application over time." Dorney explains certain applications and workloads perform better, from both a performance and cost perspective, in a private Cloud environment. Every business also has different needs.

"The focus of every CIO should be to create an efficient and sustainable environment for that business' applications and workloads," Dorney said. In some cases the best approach may be a hybrid one, as it brings capabilities beyond the pure public Cloud and allows businesses to "find the right combination of resources that works for them."

The benefits of the public Cloud are well publicised, though Verizon Asia-Pacific enterprise solutions IT consulting head, Lee Field, said they are not always easy to achieve. In fact, he has seen most enterprises struggle to get to the economies of scale enjoyed by public Cloud service providers. "This, combined with the flexibility available from Cloud service providers, can provide that competitive advantage," Field said.

Field said it is important for applications to be architected correctly to make use of this flexibility in the Cloud. "It is uncommon for a forklift like migration to provide significant improvement from operating an in-house deployed application," he said. "Re-architecting or developing for the public Cloud can allow maximisation of the benefits of public Cloud."

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