Life within the Cloud

Life within the Cloud

Is your usage of cloud resources really aligned with your underlying business model? While cloud computing consumers are offered easy-to-scale environments that make it very easy to consume ever more, they often find it hard to know just how much they are consuming, and how their consumption relates to their underlying business performance. Sound familiar?

Most cloud computing consumers expect to incur lower costs than from traditional physical hardware and IT solutions, but is the cloud actually less expensive? The utility model which the cloud offers – where you pay only for what you use – is clearly perceived as less expensive. But when you do not know what you are actually consuming, or whether you are using it effectively, you can easily spend more than you really need.

Cloud limitations

Digging deeper into the reality of cloud computing reveals some of the limitations of the utility model:

  • Minimal visibility replaces the whole-stack visibility of the on-premises physical world
  • Limited control instead of granular control
  • Unpredictability displaces the familiar deterministic behavior
  • Mature routine processes are now laborious
  • Tools and scripts become less relevant, being replaced by web services and API-based automation – each
    requiring its own set-up
  • A static environment becomes dynamic at steady-state –not only in size, but in performance, availability,
    and cost

Clouds move fast, and change fast. They enable elastic, fast, and un-planned deployments. However, uncontrolled usage leads very quickly into footprint sprawl – cloud sprawl, overspend and unpredictable behavior. This can be chaotic and expensive.

Cloud sprawl goes beyond IaaS compute instances sprawl. In making utility computing a reality, IaaS providers have built operational models in which every resource behaves as a utility, with its own usage metrics and billing schemes. Fragmentation of cloud footprints becomes common-place: each resource has its own service and life-cycle – disk volumes, disk snapshots, files, computer images, networks, application endpoints, etc,. Data, probably your most valuable asset, sprawls at the same pace, following the fragmentation of the containers themselves.

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Keywords: cloud limitations, cloud computing, cloud sprawl, cloud solutions, IaaS, aws instances.