Look at all the pretty clouds! Every day it seems like there are more and more clouds filling the sky and that trend does not appear that is going to change anytime soon. In fact the future, at least with Information Technology, seems like it is going to be entirely in some type of cloud or even multiclouds. To get a picture of where we are going let’s take a moment to look at where we have been.
As a small business we run a 100% virtualized environment and looking to migrate to a cloud, but the investment in IT to do this has been pretty substantial and for a cash strapped small business can be a many year process due to budget constraints and immediacy of other business needs. That is the key to a small business, the immediacy of business needs, but if you can step back and do a little planning, any small business can proceed along the journey from a physical environment to a software defined environment. There are many choices available to a small business depending on when they started this journey, existing investment, and where they wish to go. What choices are available now for a small business and where should we go as small business owners?
As mentioned in a number of posts, there is a clear trend away from Platform-specific PaaS (where you write your application to the platform) and Language-Specific PaaS (which provide support to one or possibly a couple of languages) to Universal PaaS, which is capable of supporting any language and any platform. There’s a little bit of a gray area, but we would include ActiveState Stackato, AppFog, dotCloud, GigaSpaces Cloudify, Red Hat OpenShift, Salesforce Heroku, Uhuru Software AppCloud and VMWare CloudFoundry in this category. These vendors differentiate themselves by providing a broad range of Application Services or Application Lifecycle Services.
One of the questions I get from time to time is, can I store my data in the cloud? At the NEVMUG, this came up once more. There is currently a lot of uncertainty about cloud storage, specifically when it comes to critical and highly regulated data. Where should I store my data, dovetails nicely with discussions of going to the cloud as well as data protection is a key component of such a migration.