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Born in the Cloud: What does it mean?

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Born in the Cloud: What does it mean?

CLOUD!!! Unless you live under a rock, you have heard this word battered about for a while now. While cloud used to be an overused marketing term, the real value of leveraging commoditized pooled infrastructure to deliver compute and storage at incredible scale to businesses has surfaced, bringing cloud computing into the mainstream. As cloud adoption continues to skyrocket, many vendors who didn’t place strategic bets early are scrambling to patch together any offering that contains the word ‘cloud’ just to remain relevant.

Historically, software developers needed to be very cognizant to the physical limits of computing when building their products so as not to overtax the available resources and crash the product or systems. With the cloud, those resources are infinite and elastic. Need more processing power? No problem. More memory? Storage? Check. The cloud allows software to grab as many or as few resources as needed, dynamically on the fly. This is a fundamental change in the world of technology—imagine a car that won’t run out of gas. Ever.

Now that everyone has jumped on the bandwagon, how can you tell the difference between marketing hype and reality? There are some fantastic marketing efforts by many software companies that have taken some serious artistic license when describing their products as cloud solutions.

Software designed specifically around the cloud is going to perform better IN the cloud than something that was developed in a legacy framework but adapted to a “cloud model” [i.e. managed offsite hosting]; it may run in a cloud but it’s still based on the old tenets of compute-limited software design.

To me, this is what “Born in the Cloud” should actually mean. For software to be REAL cloud software, it should meet some minimum criteria:

  • Developed and designed specifically to take advantage of the many benefits of cloud computing (scalability, elasticity and agility)
  • Best of breed modern technology stacks leveraged to deliver a seamless experience both on the back end and to the end user-log in and go
  • Constant innovation, feature releases, changes, and upgrades

Just like putting a Ferrari body kit on a Pontiac Fiero does not make it a Ferrari, software designed around the constraints of yesterday’s technology cobbled together and delivered in a hosted data center is not going to perform nearly as well as the real thing.

Keep your vendors honest. Ask them about their history, strategy, architecture, and roadmap. Don’t be snowed by the all-show and no-go boxed in solutions out there. Make sure you take a close look under the hood and not just the shiny exterior, because if your competitor deploys the real thing, you’re eventually going to get embarrassed on the racetrack of today’s business environment.

Written by GoodData Author  | 

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