The birth of cloud computing created a great deal of confusion. This was, in a way, inevitable as it bought a fundamental change to the nature of an organisation's IT and the economics by which IT services are acquired. By moving IT infrastructure into a cloud, managed by a trusted third party, the enterprise can free itself from directly managing large parts of its IT infrastructure and benefit from increased efficiencies and flexibility.
But, the story doesn't end there. Many organisations are considering cloud bursting - the process by which an application running in a private cloud or data centre bursts into a public cloud when the demand for computing capacity spikes. Bursting becomes attractive when it makes better business and cost sense to lease extra space from an external cloud supplier, rather than upgrade the existing enterprise proprietary network, which would be costly and inefficient because of irregular consumption demands.
If an organisation needs to flex in the event of a traffic spike, which way should it turn when met with the oceans of cloud space available? This can seem like a particularly daunting question, especially as many network managers are calling for the on demand benefits of an external environment, but with the personalisation and security of their own private infrastructure. IT managers are demanding the ability to burst in real time, whilst keeping their current architecture and not having to change their networking and security policies.
Getting the best of both worlds is often seen as a compromise, where some benefits have to be sacrificed. But this is no longer the case as Infrastructure-as-a-service is fast becoming the simplest way to balance demand and with every increasing sophistication and control built into new technology offers, earlier restrictions are removed.
The critics claim was that cloud bursting didn't replace the need for a data centre. However, with the arrival of new Virtual Data Centres organisations can add RAM, new network and storage, just as they would a ‘real' data centre.
The early concerns over whether cloud computing was a passing fad, are rapidly disappearing. Just because you can't hug your machine it doesn't mean it's not dependable. And, as we move forward, virtual is fast becoming the solution that supports critical applications.