Dissecting the cloud

  • The three key words in Gartner’s definition: Scalable, service and Internet
  • There are three types of clouds or what Citrix terms as the ‘Three PCs’

Dissecting the cloudTHE cloud is one of the most exciting phenomena in IT in the past two decades. Yet, it is also one of the most disruptive moves, more so than the migration from mainframes to client/ server computing.
Cloud computing is changing everything, from the way IT services are delivered to the way they are consumed within an organization.
Asia Pacific, without a doubt, is moving at a rapid rate to embrace this new architecture. According to research firm Forrester, 52% of organizations in Asia Pacific excluding Japan (APEJ) are either currently using or actively planning cloud initiatives.
Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled capabilities are delivered as a service to external customers through the Internet.
The three key words in this definition are ‘scalable’, ‘service’ and ‘Internet’.
Cloud computing is the deployment of an application over the Internet on an on-demand basis. To be clear, cloud computing is not something that an end-user purchases. In fact, end-users should be oblivious to how an application is delivered.
There are three types of clouds or what Citrix terms as the ‘Three PCs.’ In this article, we explain the difference between the three types of clouds and why all three are important or relevant to most organizations today. We also showcase various case studies of cloud infrastructure.
Dissecting the cloudThe Personal Cloud is about embracing mobile workstyles and connecting people to their desktops, applications and data, allowing them to collaborate and work from any device or location.
The consumerization of IT is challenging the traditional definition of an office, with employees using their personal mobile devices for both work and play.
The Private Cloud is the collection of on-premise infrastructure, desktops, applications and data, delivered on demand by enterprise IT behind their firewall.
The private cloud takes all of the benefits of increased elasticity, self-service and granular usage tracking but at the same time allows an organization to have more control and security over their infrastructure.
The Public Cloud is the assembly of off-premise, multi-tenant infrastructure, storage and compute resources, as well as Software as a Service (SaaS) applications and data, which are delivered on demand by external service providers.
Many organizations in Asia Pacific such as Korea Telecom, TATA and IDC Frontier are doing this today.
The hybrid cloud is also becoming increasingly popular with enterprise customers. Hybrid clouds are formed when private and public clouds are closely integrated, giving IT teams a lot of flexibility to choose where application workloads are run, balancing cost and security.
One reason this convergence is occurring is because private clouds are becoming more cost effective and flexible and public clouds are becoming more secure and transparent.
It is essential to look for vendors that can ensure the benefits of the cloud are achieved without being locked into any particular virtual infrastructure or cloud service provider.
Some case studies of how organizations make use of cloud infrastructure:

  • Development/Test Clouds – This is a great first use case for customers using server virtualization to move to cloud. Development/Test Clouds provide unparalleled ease for developers to build, update, and test applications with lower cost and compressed release cycles. Organizations want to provide developers and testers with access to available, easily configured resources to reduce the lifecycle associated with procuring and racking infrastructure (servers, storage, and networking) and installing software. Such a process can take up to six weeks in some organizations.
  • Bring Your Own (BYO) Mobile Services – Whether it is a banking application or an employee portal, the cloud presents an excellent architecture to facilitate the delivery of applications internally or to external customers, allowing capacity to expand and contract according to demand or growth.
  • Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Services – Today's global environment has become somewhat unpredictable with political and environmental unrest.  The cloud has become a great model to create a failover footprint in the event of any disaster while maintaining the benefit of "pay as you go" services, making the enterprise more responsive to businesses while maintaining efficient economics.

A cloud infrastructure can also assist with industry-specific variabilitySome variables are driven by industry dynamics, for example retailers need more infrastructure capacity during the holiday shopping season when they see a spike in sales.
There are many kinds of industry variability — some recurring and predictable (such as the FIFA World Cup or the Olympic Games), and others unpredictable (such as major news stories or blog sites).

The outcome is that infrastructure capacity has to be built for the expected peak. Most of this capacity will sit idle for the rest of the time and thus the cloud’s ability to create more efficiencies on-demand across the deployed infrastructure presents a viable alternative.
Yaj Malik is area vice president of Asean at Citrix
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