For anyone interested in Cloud Computing a new report by UC Berkeley Reliable Adaptive Distributed Systems Laboratory is an absolute must read. Like my pal Daz, I’ve seen too many boring whitepapers over the years to not get excited about these things but this one stands out as the best I have read in a very long time. It’s genuinely useful, insightful and unbiased.
Above the Clouds walks through cloud computing and discusses Amazon, Google and Microsoft and others. It also does a terrific job at bringing some long overdue definition to some widely over used terms and exposes many of the metrics behind the economy of scale that cloud computing brings. I particularly liked how they explained why even if cloud computing was more expensive over time than on premises hardware, cloud may still work out cheaper because of the “elasticity and transference of risk”.
They do a great job of answering the questions they set out to:
- What is Cloud Computing, and how is it different from previous paradigm shifts such as Software as a Service (SaaS)?
- Why is Cloud Computing poised to take off now, whereas previous attempts have foundered?
- What does it take to become a Cloud Computing provider, and why would a company consider becoming one?
- What new opportunities are either enabled by or potential drivers of Cloud Computing?
- How might we classify current Cloud Computing offerings across a spectrum, and how do the technical and business challenges differ depending on where in the spectrum a particular offering lies?
- What, if any, are the new economic models enabled by Cloud Computing, and how can a service operator decide whether to move to the cloud or stay in a private datacenter?
- What are the top 10 obstacles to the success of Cloud Computing—and the corresponding top 10 opportunities available for overcoming the obstacles?
- What changes should be made to the design of future applications software, infrastructure software, and hardware
to match the needs and opportunities of Cloud Computing?
My favourite line from the paper
Physics tells us it’s easier to ship photons than electrons; that is, it’s cheaper to ship data over fiber optic cables than to ship electricity over high-voltage transmission lines.
Thanks UCB…this is a keeper and it was great to see Jim Gray referenced too. The update on his work in Table 5 within the document is fascinating.
I can’t remember the last time I read something as long as this document that wasn’t a novel and enjoyed it. It’s now in the inbox of many of my friends at Microsoft and wider.
thanks to Andreas for bringing to my attention.