Is Your Cloud Making You Fat?

As I dozed over the weekend watching TV, something caught my ear: a commercial touting a product with “only 1.5 grams of carbs”. I can’t even tell you what the product was — my first thought was, “Are people even counting carbs anymore?”  It turns out that they are! People are quietly avoiding bread and potatoes. But for a while, fad diets based on avoiding carbs were all you heard about. Now, it’s just one more weight loss option.

Which, naturally, got me thinking about my favorite current fad term – “cloud”. Here’s a prediction for you: in a few years, no one will be talking about cloud. Companies everywhere will be using it in some form or another as a way to deliver services to end users, but they won’t be wrapped up in what to call it. They’ll instead be focused on what it’s doing for them.

So, with that behind us, what’s next? Well, just like we all need to manage our diets, we are all going to need to manage our clouds. Easily accessible, inexpensive junk food is making us fat, according to some pundits. Imagine how wasteful we could be with IT dollars, if we had unlimited supplies of inexpensive servers? It’s immediate gratification all over the place. 

I’m not suggesting we throw the cloud away or limit its accessibility. Instead, I’m suggesting that companies who want to effectively use the cloud are going to have to effectively manage the cloud. That means those in positions of authority over IT are going to have to monitor the cloud; they’re going to have to turn off servers and pay greater attention to how their applications are scaling. It’s actually something we’ve been talking and thinking about for a while. Not long ago, we hosted a webinar with a guest analyst from Forrester Research to discuss this very topic.

Net-net, here’s what we learned:

  1. Moving to the cloud isn’t all or nothing. Choose apps that make sense to move. Don’t move them all, and test them before you move anything.
  2. You need to know more about your applications than you used to. Apps run differently in virtualized environments, or so I’m told. Something to consider, for certain.
  3. Monitoring is more important than ever before. You’ve got to know not only if physical assets are active and responsive; you’ve got to know that the virtual layers are working in concert, too.
  4. And, my personal favorite: Cloud is only less expensive if you govern it. If you leave your cloud servers running all the time, you could (and I stress could) end up paying more money in the long-run.
I suppose the moral of the story could be that everything is good in moderation, even carbs. What problems could you end up with if you overdo your cloud?  How can you avoid overdoing it?
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