Where is the Cloud? The Cloud is a Method, Not a Location

In IT circles when the discussion of “the cloud” comes up, whether for cloud compute or cloud storage, the first thought is a public cloud like Amazon, Google or Azure. But the reality is the cloud is not a location, it is a process that allows companies to provide IT services dynamically in a self-service fashion. The provider of those services can be one of the large public cloud providers, a regional managed service provider or the organization’s own internal IT staff.

What is the Cloud Method?

The cloud is more than just a data center that leverages virtualization. Virtualization is an important first step to becoming cloud-like. Cloud organizations leverage virtualization to create an IT infrastructure that responds to the needs of the users and application owners. The result is an IT on-demand experience that is self-service. IT leverages automation to orchestrate the behind the scenes moves, adds and changes to make it appear to the user as if the environment is created for them instantly.

Behind The Cloud

As a result the cloud is really more of a description of the customer experience. The user orders the IT services they need and it appears to instantly appear. They are unaware of the orchestration of various pieces of the configuration or provisioning of the IT infrastructure in the background.

Behind all of this orchestration is data. The data that application owners and users need access to. While some of this data is created as a result of the request much of the data already exists and needs to be provided to the request.

Data is Weighing Down The Cloud

The problem is that data is weighing down the cloud, making it less flexible and less efficient. In most data centers, part of the orchestration process is to identify the data that the requester will need and then copy that data to the services that have been provisioned. The process of copying the data takes time and obviously consumes additional capacity. Another challenge is that much of this data comes from legacy applications and then is provisioned to modern workloads.

A Virtual Content Repository

What IT needs is a universal repository that can connect legacy IT with modern IT. It should provide data protection to both legacy and modern IT creating the universal storage. This content repository should also provide copies of data to requesting users seamlessly with minimal actual copying of data. Finally it should connect directly into the orchestration layer so that it can be seamlessly accessed via the provisioning process.

Twelve years ago George Crump founded Storage Switzerland with one simple goal; to educate IT professionals about all aspects of data center storage. He is the primary contributor to Storage Switzerland and is a heavily sought after public speaker. With over 25 years of experience designing storage solutions for data centers across the US, he has seen the birth of such technologies as RAID, NAS and SAN, Virtualization, Cloud and Enterprise Flash. Prior to founding Storage Switzerland he was CTO at one of the nation's largest storage integrators where he was in charge of technology testing, integration and product selection.

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2 comments on “Where is the Cloud? The Cloud is a Method, Not a Location
  1. Hey George – I really find that you have an interesting viewpoint – but when I read your section on “Data is Weighing Down The Cloud”, I was a bit surprised by that view – I hadn’t experienced that.. After a little thought about our views, I felt like a commentary on that premise and why I haven’t seen Data Weighing Down the Cloud was worthwhile.. Let me know your thoughts…http://www.commvault.com/blogs/2016/may/weighing-down-the-cloud

  2. Dan says:

    Also found your viewpoint interesting. I find that there are so many services now though. I’ve been using this page http://www.cloudstorageboss.com/reviews/ to compare but it’s hard to tell what I should really be looking for. You mentioned that the data is weighing down the cloud so I guess my question is whether this is something certain companies are dealing with more efficiently or if it’s just kind of a general cloud issue altogether.

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