Moore’s law is strictly an observation that the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years. Interestingly, data, too, seems subject to this law. The amount of data that is going online is doubling every fifteen months or less. It is obvious that this growing volume of data cannot be processed and managed by extant applications. The applications will have to change and improve in myriads of ways to retain their capacity to manage the inflow of information or the number of applications in use will have to double. An IT revolution has to happen and is happening!
The Cloud revolution, like the industrial revolution, has several distinct features and attributes such as: utilization, componentization, standardization, certification and measurement.
The Cloud makes computing a utility service like electricity or water supply. Users do not have to build their own hardware / software or computing infrastructure in order to compute. Computing infrastructures are provided by vendors and users pay for usage. This creates elastic provisioning and allows IT to keep step with data growth within an enterprise.
The Cloud results in componentization of applications. Applications are more modular as parts may have to be reengineered and retrofitted to meet the software functionality demands of customers.
Standardization is an important concept for the Cloud. A number of organizations are involved in evolving standards for Cloud computing. Some of the issues being addressed under this head are: Interoperability of Clouds, Security Standards for the Cloud, Virtualization Standards, Cloud Interface Standards, Networking Standards and Data Management Standards. A few organizations of note in this arena are:
- Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA),
- Cloud Standards Customer Council (CSCC),
- Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF),
- Open Virtualization Format (OVF), and
- Open Cloud Standards Incubator (OCSI)
Effectiveness metrics is probably a Cloud measure that is most popular. This measure includes availability, reliability, accuracy, security, customer satisfaction, speed to recover, and mean time between failures. The need for metrics is growing and as standards emerge, the metrics are gaining definition. Minimum levels of expected performance are being instituted as benchmarks.
Like the Industrial Revolution, the Cloud revolution is transforming businesses. Cloud computing itself is becoming a business strategy. Management strategists for the Cloud are making an appearance. Convergence of social media with Cloud computing is being widely discussed. Cloud integration services are emerging as a whole new sub-industry.
A few thinkers have not hesitated to call this new phenomenon the knowledge revolution or the epic revolution.