Cloud Computing Backgrounder

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1 Cloud Computing Backgrounder No surprise: information technology (IT) is huge. Huge costs, huge number of buzz words, huge amount of jargon, and a huge competitive advantage for those who can effectively apply the technologies which best support their business objectives. This is one of a series of background papers prepared by ROI Training to explain cutting edge concepts within IT. It is our hope that this paper will give you information about the technology being presented to help you decide if you should look into implementing the technology as part of your business strategy. Definition of cloud computing 1 A style of computing in which scalable, reliable, and secure IT capabilities are delivered as a service to customers using Internet technologies 2 Scalable means the cloud system can easily increase or decrease resources provided for a given executing by orders of magnitude if needed with little to no downtime. This means if you were expecting, for example, 50 sales per hour, and suddenly you receive 50,000 per hour, the cloud system would automatically adjust the resources so that each of the 50,000 transactions would have the same response that was planned for only 50 sales per hour; later, if the demand drops off, resources would be released. It means that you can provision computing services for 1 or 100 or 1000 in minutes, not weeks. 3 No hardware system is 100% reliable; systems go down. But such failures should never impact IT processing. Loss of a processing node means only that the process is moved automatically transparently, as far as the user is concerned to another node; with software designed to run in the cloud, there is minimal to no loss in response time. Loss of a data node means swapping to a hot backup and continued processing while a backup is being made from another hot backup. Network down means only re- routing. You decide on the reliability you need and the cloud system can be configured to produce that level of reliability. Reliability of can be realistically achieved. 1 The National Institute for Standard and Technology (NIST) defined cloud computing for the Federal Government in SP The definition and following explanation is fully consistent with the definition given in SP Modified from SP and Gartner Report. 3 Sounds like hype. It is not. I watched as the stats at a friend s web site went from 5 hits a day to over 5000 an hour after someone mentioned his site had a great article. This ability to rapidly expand is not cheap. One system could easily process the 5 hits a day. To process the sudden surge, there were 4 idle systems on- line and waiting for work. These idle system were able to handle the increasing work load and provided the time necessary to spin up the additional 5 system needed to process the work load. I have a customer whom I teach Python; he regularly provisions my 20 classroom machines in less than 10 minutes; I paid for dinner when he set up 500 virtual machines in 25 minutes. Page 1

2 High levels of security and privacy are harder to achieve. Generally, you (the user) do not have control over the hardware. You specify capabilities; the cloud system owner configures the platform to provide them. This means that your sensitive data will have to be encrypted, and your software will have to be certified to do only what it is required to do and nothing else. The computing capability is delivered as a service from an internal department or an external vendor, such as Google, Amazon, IBM, Rackspace, or EMC. Additional Characteristics Ease of use. There is usually a simple, web- based fill- in- the- blanks interface to the cloud which enables you to specify configuration, automated expansion, setup, and teardown. Remote access. You probably will not know where your data is or where the processing is done. So long as your requirements for security, response time, and throughput are met, do you care? Not normally. Multiple tenancy. Depending upon how the cloud was designed you may be sharing hardware with other business entities. You may only have a virtual machine running on some larger physical machine. Network centric. To do work in the cloud you must have a reliable network and depending upon the kind of interaction and data movement between the user and the cloud you may need a high speed network. Moreover, the cloud requires its own internal, reliable, high- speed network, enabling data to be stored on one set of nodes while processing to be done on another set of nodes. Business Drivers Scalability. The chart to the left show what is probably the biggest business driver: 4 The capability to provision what is necessary. Agility. The capability to provide computing resource just for the length of time needed. When ROI needed six computers at $4,000 each for two months to develop a certain course, we could not 4 Deloitte, Cloud Computing: Forecasting Change, https://www.deloitte.com/assets/dcom- Global/ Local%20Assets/Documents/TMT/cloud_- _market_overview_and_perspective.pdf [not legible] Page 2

3 justify the expense. Using a cloud provider brought the cost down about $240 for time used. Reduction in Cost. Maybe. At the time the study was done for this paper, at Costco a single 1- TB hard disk cost about $50. The cost of storing 1 TB with a cloud vendor was $50 per TB per month far more expensive. ROI acted as a consultant to a major vendor 5, who explained that to meet published reliability and access times, data had to be replicated in multiple data centers around the world, and multiple copies had to be maintained at each data center. There was then the cost of keeping the data in sync and the cost of maintaining the data centers. When we understood what was being provided and what had to be done and maintained to provide it, the costs did not look out of line. Now, the rest of the story of the six computers for two months. ROI paid only for time used and storage of the images around $4.00 for each computer- hour of use (We used 60 hours, and paid $240.). That is, if I had needed the computing system for a full year the cost would have been about $8000 per computer less than $1.00 per hour for a long- term contract. Again, looking at the costs for what was being provided, the cost was not out of line. The course developed ran monthly for six months for the customer; it still runs two or three times a year. They liked our work enough so that now we do two or three courses every month for them. For my short term needs the cloud service was great, but for long term usage it may not have been cost effective. Determining the real cost of using or not using the cloud is tricky at best. The tangible costs can be determined. The opportunity and other non- tangible costs are hard to determine. Business Concerns Moving your processing or data to the cloud changes some of the normal business assumptions. The intent of this section is to highlight the impacted areas, so that you can determine if you need to make process adjustments to reduce the risk. Data Concerns. What happens to data that is no longer needed? How do you get all of the data moved to another vendor or back in- house? Can the cloud manager see your sensitive data? How fast is synchronization among multiple live copies? Ultimately, who owns the data? Read the service level agreement contract carefully; you may be surprised. Visibility. What logging of actions is provided? This is needed if there is a problem with the data or the program. Is forensic security logging available? Performance. What is the variability in the length of time to run the program? Are latency (length of time to get the data) and jitter (variation in data arrival rate) important? 5 The vendor has asked not to be identified. And, again, I thank them for showing ROI the cost figures. Page 3

4 Disaster Recovery. What is the order of recovery? Are you first or last among the vendor s customers? How easy will it be to move data? Regulatory Oversight. Each country has a unique set of rules. Some countries will not allow data about citizens to be stored outside of the country. You need to know that the data is being stored where your company has the legal rights to the data you need to continue your business. Software Development Changes. For optimum return on investment, software needs to be developed to take advantage of the parallelism, scalability, and agility that the cloud provides. Service Models Cloud computing uses three service models (reference models), to help understand the different levels of cloud service. No real- world system fully matches any of the models, but most offerings are fairly close to one of the models. IaaS (Infrastruture as a Service) 6 Service provider owns and hosts compute resources, storage, and networking and offers the resources to the customer on- demand. The offering typically includes an operating system and networking software if needed. If done this way, the supplier provides very little or no customization of the software provided. The customer is responsible for all software and data management. A good example is OpenStack. PaaS (Platform as a Service) 7 Provider delivers execution services, such as runtime, storage, and integration, for s written for a pre- specified development framework. The customer is only responsible for the work done on the system. A good example is a Hadoop cluster. SaaS (Software as a Service) 8 Provider delivers business processes and s, such as collaboration or e- mail, standardized capabilities for a usage- based cost at an agreed, business- relevant service level. Good examples are Facebook and Google Docs. The table below summarizes the data in the definition. 6 glossary/infrastructure- as- a- service- iaas/ 7 Based upon readings at is- infrastructure- as- a- service- iaas.aspx 8 Based upon readings at is- infrastructure- as- a- service- iaas.aspx Page 4

5 Type Consumer Service Provided Service Level Customization SaaS End user Finished Application uptime Application performance Minimal to no customization except as allowed by PaaS Application owner Runtime environment Cloud storage Environment availability Environment performance NO vendor coverage High degree of customization within constraints of services offered Most s rewritten to run on PaaS IaaS Application owner Virtual server Cloud storage Vendor may supply OS No vendor support Virtual server availability Time to provision NO vendor coverage Minimal constraints on Deployment Models NIST defines several deployment models, but in reality there are only two. If your company owns and controls the hardware infrastructure it is a private cloud. If your company does not own the hardware infrastructure and negotiates a level of service with the owner it is a public cloud. If another division of your company has total control of the hardware it is still a private cloud, but your division should regard it as a public cloud. The Bottom Line Cloud computing provides services that are easily scalable and available on demand (agile). If your business model needs these IT capabilities, then it may be worth your time to see if cloud computing can be made into a good fit for your business. Page 5

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