a central point for collection of information as it relates to cloud computing in the government
Public Cloud Commentary
October 15, 2009 at 10:06 am #83120
There are no such thing as hosted public clouds.
My belief is that there is no such thing as a hosted public cloud. The private cloud is a solution for a business/consumer to manage their scalability and reliability. These private clouds may have public interfaces, but to the consumer this is not a "cloud" but a single consolidated, non-redundant system. That is to say, the customer has a single point of failure. Once a single point of failure is introduced to a system, it is no longer a cloud. For that reason, no single provider can sell a public cloud, so no such thing a public cloud may possibly exist.
Private clouds may offer public interfaces, and these services have been known as "public clouds". I think this is a misnomer because building on a single provider, even if that provider has a cloud infrastructure, does not qualify as building on a "cloud". Anyone building on top of a hosted service is building on "cloud" if, and only if, they are building in a redundant and reliable fashion against multiple points of failure: I.E if they're also building on top of MORE THAN ONE hosted service provider's compute platform.
If we must use the term "public cloud", then this must be used in the singular to as a generalization of hosted services.
In regard to the recent events at Danger/Microsoft, I should note that to the Sidekick community that they were not hosted on the cloud, but instead by a single point of failure. Even if Danger/Microsoft was utilizing a private cloud to host their data, this would not have eliminated the threat of a single point of failure from the perspective of the end-user. I will also extend a warning to the users of Salesforce: You are NOT on a cloud. Salesforce operates their services on a private cloud, but as end-users you are still linked to a single point of failure: Salesforce.com Inc.
In my opinion, the only time in which operating through a single vendor may still qualify as being a "cloud" would be through the use of on-premises software and hardware which is not restricted by DRM, time-locks, or similar limitations. For instance, running VMware software would still qualify as a cloud solution because this software would not suddenly fail to operate if VMware was to be purchased, change their licensing, or through any other course of events. However, it might be argued -- I'd argue it -- that with Microsoft's WGA, strict interpretation of this cloud definiation would make it impossible to run a cloud on Microsoft's current server software line.
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