Living with a cloud – paradigm shift in the way we work
Cloud services are viewed mostly in isolation, as if they were a technological feat transforming the computing world, yet have no direct link to our everyday life. The perception, even among the most knowledgeable, is that cloud is inaccessible except by the geeks working silently in a top secret cabin, out of bound for the normal folks like us. It reminds me of the days of DOS, when only a few techies worked on highly secretive PC’s. It took less than a decade for the same PC to invade every nook and corner of our life. The cloud phenomenon is exactly the same.
In the next four posts I will take a look at how the cloud is slowly becoming a universal phenomenon rather than a mere technical tool.
The business of leasing and cloud
Leasing is perhaps one of the oldest business practices. In fact, management books are full of case studies involving decision making on buy or lease options. Both have a place in business. Buying capital goods or equipment requires money upfront which many companies could not afford. Leasing was an attractive option for these entities. Businesses leased complete factories with equipment and personnel. It must be understood that leasing business was dependent on the life of the machines. Typically, factory equipment would have a life of twenty five years. New generations of machines were developed once in a decade and obsolescence was never an issue.
The advent of computers and future cloud
Computers changed everything in the leasing world. A computer becomes obsolete in less than a year. The leasing life of a computer therefore fell from a high of 25 years to less than a year. Not that leasing went out of business, but its power certainly waned. Now that we are in the internet era, things have actually changed to an extent that old ways of doing business have gone out of fashion. If you wanted to have an online presence, you not only required servers but also the communication backbone to connect to the outside world. You had to perforce place your servers in someone else’s datacenter. At this juncture we came across multiple options. We could lease server with the backbone, we could buy our own servers and locate them in a datacenter. Hosting services for shared servers mushroomed. You would be amazed to know that there are no standards for web hosting services. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. From a technical point of view it looked like a thorough mess – but it worked and still works.
Now let’s look at the scenario from a different perspective, Load Balancer . If your typical business has one leased server with 500 GB Hard Disk with a quad I5 Intel processor, only 20-25% of the resources would be utilized by you. What happens to the idle machines? If I were a traditional Factory manager, I would be aghast at the underutilization of resources. I will cry wolf, I would shout from the rooftop and not stop till I use all the available machine time. But in our electronic world, no one even blinks at such a colossal underutilization.
In my next post, I will deal with how cloud is an efficient option which we must embrace for the sake of efficiency, if not for anything else.
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About the Guest Author:
Sankarambadi Srinivasan, ‘Srini’, is a maverick writer, technopreneur, geek and online marketing enthusiast rolled into one. He began his career as a Naval weapon specialist. Later, he sold his maiden venture and became head of an offshore Database administration company in Mumbai. He moved on as Chief Technology Officer of one of the largest online entities, where he led consolidation of 300 online servers and introduced several Web 2.0 initiatives. He holds a Master’s degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.