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Cloud computing, though it enables great promise, also offers significant challenges. For businesses seeking to get the most from their cloud deployment, it’s important to understand the myths and falsehoods that surround cloud computing. These contradictions center around concepts like vendor lock-in, the future of the private cloud, cost issues, analysts vs. customers, and role of the datacenter in the years ahead. Complicating matters, what’s true and what might be true is hotly contested. To discuss these issues, I’ll spoke with three top cloud computing thought leaders.
Scott Sanchez, Director, OpenStack, Cisco
Transcript of video discussion:
[kidding] So, cloud computing. It’s pretty amazing that it’s so amazingly easy. You know, we just log on with our app to your remote location. There’s no more IT department needed . No more data center. It’s all public. It’s all handled for us. And it’s cheap. It’s gotten cheaper than ever before, so I mean, it’s pretty amazing. I mean, why do we even need cloud experts because things have gotten so easy? Andy, is there any more use for expertise in the cloud due to how easy it’s gotten?
Oh James, where do I start? Talk about myth busting. Let’s take that one. It’s not easy, right. Even just selecting a cloud is not easy. Let alone starting and using one, getting the skills. You, I know, pointed out some articles on the skills that one should use. There’s… don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been a big supporter of cloud computing, of course. But yeah, it’s not as easy as people make it out to be. The simplicity of it is a huge challenge. And then we’re getting the things like the fragmentation – what I call a cloud of clouds, what I know some people call the multi-cloud, I think. It’s a lot of things, but it’s not easy
What is the fragmentation of the cloud? I bring it up because I just saw a research report recently that said, on average, companies have like six different cloud instances? What’s going on with that?
Yeah, this is something I’ve been working on quite extensively recently. The fragmentation of IT in the cloud is just generally a part of that. There’s no one cloud to everything. There’s no one cloud to rule them all. To start with, there’s the different types. There’s the SaaS, PaaS, and the infrastructure, and the community – public or private. But different use cases, different types of cloud, especially in larger organizations where you’ve got empowered developers and all of a sudden they’re putting down credit cards. Then add to that business owners and business people in sales sick of the IT people not coming to the party in time so they put their credit card down for a chúng tôi or a Marketo or all sorts of cloud based services. And all of a sudden this proliferation happens and you’ve got just fragmented cloud. You lose track of it. You can’t find performance. You can’t find cost. You end of paying money for services you’re just not even actually using anymore because someone forgot to shut them down. So yeah, the fragmentation is an issue in itself.
Greg, the easiness of the cloud. Are you enjoying the free and easy ride?
Yeah, I don’t know why were having this conversation. What’s the problem? You know, James, you talk about some of the myths and lies when it comes to cloud. The one thing that keeps coming up… it’s funny, I was looking back at some of the debates that Adrian Cockcroft, Christian Riley, Chris Hoff had back five years ago debating cloud types, and still today we’re arguing quite frequently… not arguing. I would say there’s a fair amount of discussion around… it boils down to one central point. You’ve got a core set of analysts and some in the media that think there’s only one way to do cloud, especially Infrastructure as a Service. I think that’s the biggest myth that’s out there. I think when you look at some of the recent articles about Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and other folks, they’re doing cloud differently. It’s not a ‘right or wrong’ judgement, but clearly it shows that there’s more than one way to do cloud.
Well, I hope they’re not doing private cloud, because for the private cloud it’s a waste. The only people who do private cloud are those who don’t get it. So, you’re not saying BofA or Goldman Sachs are doing private cloud, are they?
No, I was reading back, again, I’ll refer back to Adrian Cockcroft five years ago saying, ‘There’s no technical reason to build a private cloud’, and I think he’s probably right when you talk about technical reasons. But, the technical aspects for why you deploy a cloud are one of many aspects including business, including culture, that really kind of factor into how companies are going to leverage their IT resources and what that looks like.
And compliance, of course, for those two giants. Scott, the easiness of cloud? Are you riding on that wave? Or what’s your taking on that?
Well, it is easy if you are developer. If you’re an application developer, like a true, legit application developer, and you want to build an app, yeah, it’s easy these days. You go out to a public cloud, or hopefully you’ve got an IT team that has seen the light and has implemented an actual private cloud solution that feels cloudy, so, from a developer’ perspective, things are great. Things are better than they’ve ever been.
That was the AWS story early on. All of those developers getting on there.
It’s very hard if you’re IT today, though. Cisco has a service called Cloud Consumption Service, which kind of scours the network and looks for all of the traffic, and very often the results that come back they ask the CIO, ‘How many approved cloud services do you have?’ and they’re like, ‘Oh! We have 35.’ And like 800 come back in the result. So, it’s staggering and startling and everything else and then they start to ask, ‘Okay, how do we get a handle on this?’ I think it’s very difficult. Just the proliferation of a lot of these public services. But also, anybody can go out and download some of the best database technology in the world or the best whatever in the world and put that onto their network without even asking IT anymore. So, it’s getting harder internally, not just externally.
Which is the legacy of shadow IT, which is a bad thing. It seems like it’s gotten more accepted because people couldn’t wait around for the IT departments so they just used the company credit card. It seems almost like shadow IT has been absorbed into the company culture in many companies.
My favorite myth, my personal favorite, is that cloud allows you to avoid vendor lock-in. Like, if you just.. in the bad old days if you bought from ACME company. You had their vendor gear and their server gear you had to stay with them no matter how they raised their prices. These days you can switch around so easily because it’s just a cloud. Greg, is there vendor lock-in with a cloud? Is that a reality or is that a myth?
Andi, is public cloud necessarily vendor lock-in, or is that a myth? And how do companies work around it it if is real?
I’ve always had an issue with the whole concept of vendor lock-in. Every software tool does something specific in its own specific way, unless you’re talking about total copycats, which, you know, those actually do exist and have their place. But on most software you have not just the software itself, but you build up skill sets, you build up processes around it. Some of it is more harder than others to move away, but the whole concept of vendor lock-in I find a bit of a furfy. Every cloud is different, and sometimes that’s a good thing because individual clouds will do things that are specific and useful. So, you want to choose your cloud based on what you want to try to achieve. Now, if you want to try to move from one platform provider to another that’s often going to be difficult. The challenge is there why do you want to do that? Are you moving for a specific feature? You’re going to lose some and you’re going to pick some up. This whole idea of vendor lock-in has always, I think, been a bit of a furfy. Cloud certainly doesn’t make it any easier, I don’t think.
Can you define that term ‘furfy’ so if I’ve not been to Australia… I want to use the word ‘furfy’ in a sentence.
[laughs] That might be a little big of a colloquialism, I’m not sure. A Furfing is a false trail.
So, in other words, you’re saying that vendor lock-in is almost part of the beast no matter what. It’s not something to be so worried about because it’s just part of using something all the time anyway?
Yeah, exactly. Some lock-in is hard. If your data is involved and structures and that sort of thing then it’s obviously a lot harder. I’ll scale up to architecture a little bit. Code can be moved more easily and I think that cloud does actually make it easier in some ways for that, especially when you start to think about containerization and micro-services. That starts to become a little bit more portable. But frankly, I’m not sure that it is ultimately that portable, but I don’t know the math.
That’s right. James, I just want to piggyback on what Scott just said there. If you look at the white board behind me, this goes back to the cloud arguments from five years ago. Christopher Hoff said, ‘Use the right tool for the right job at the right time and the right cost.’ Five years ago. It still applies today.
There you have it.
Yeah, it’s the universal truth. Scott, what is one of your favorite myths or falsehoods about the cloud? When people talk about what leaves you saying, hey, that can’t be true?
I think it’s that you have to… and this sort of touches on what we were just talking about, that you have to pick one and that’s your strategy. That’s a very kind of old school mentality to me. I’m not making a company-wide ‘we’re going to forklift and burn down the old and move everything over here’ you know, even some of the folks that were onstage at the last Amazon event. They very carefully used their words to say ‘We’re not going to be in the data center business anymore. We partnered with Amazon.’ They didn’t say they’re getting rid of all of their servers. They didn’t say they’re not going to have any applications that run on stuff that they might manage. They just said that they don’t want to light up a building that’s a data center. So, I think that’s a big distinction. People look at it as I have to make a decision on either cloud or I’m not. That’s, to me, one of the most frustrating myths. How do I get my 3,000 application portfolio over to cloud? Well, you don’t. You may transports 50 of them this year. You may build a hundred new ones. But the other 2,950 are probably just going to keep doing what they’re doing. I think that’s a myth we have both collectively put into people’s minds and now have to remove.
So all cloud is hybrid cloud, or it’s a hybrid scenario one way or another?
It is to me. I’ve been drawing up this tic-tac-toe board on the white board and kind of explaining, hey, if I’m a bank, or example, when I’m building the next cool mobile app for my bank, you can fill in one of the boxes on a tic-tac-toe board with a piece of my app. There might be an Oracle database up here, or there might be something bare metal. Or there might be a piece that runs in VMware, OpenStack, public cloud, some SaaS service, micro services, whatever. Fill all of that in together and that’s what really makes up my mobile app these days if I’m a well established organization. It’s not, ‘I’m either in the cloud or I’m not.’ It’s not even ‘I’m virtualized or I’m not.’ There’s this real mishmash of stuff that makes up what people think of as an app and I think that’s a really good mindset for people to start adopting.
What about… and please just educate me on this because I’m honestly confused. Thinking of PaaS. Sometimes I think it’s charging upwards. Sometimes I’m not sure it’s real. Andy, are you a believer in platform as a service?
Oh geez, I go back and forth on this, James. I’ll probably get into trouble. I think, to a large degree, PaaS is about standardization and we can all agree that cloud is about standardization, at least until a certain level. So PaaS, I think, is a great thing because any way I can get up and running, get content running faster, easily lift and shift into a test, a Q/A, a staging, a product using the same platform, the same environment, the same stack, that’s a great thing. But I’m not sure I’ve ever met two developers using the same stack, let alone entire teams or companies. So, I don’t know. I see great success in certain companies that I work with using platform as a service and doing really well with is. So, I do see success. I do see positive aspects in it. But I also wonder if it’s everything it’s cracked up to be, because again, pick your use case, find the business value, yes it’s going to be… but, I’m on the fence on this one, James. I’m still waiting to be convinced, I guess.
Is there a leading platform or a couple of leading platforms where someone could say, you know, so-and-so is PaaS, Azure is PaaS, that you think are really the dominant ones if it’s going to really happen?
Obviously, the CloudFoundry is doing really well. The Pivotal guys, they’ve done some great work. I’ve talked to a bunch of their customers who are super happy. I know in the past five years RedShift. The RedHat. I’m sorry, OpenShift. RedHat PaaS. Those are fantastic. We’ve got a whole SaaS infrastructure using the…
Did we lose Mr. Mann? I think he kind of froze. You’re back. Okay, you froze for a second, Andy, after the RedHat piece you froze a little bit. We have you now.
Good, yeah. Occasionally I get lost. Occupational hazard. Yeah, so I the OpenShift, the Pivotal. There’s a bunch of them around, as well, that I don’t know very well but I know have very good people. So yeah, I think it’s still nascent. I think there’s still opportunity for it to be really successful. I do think they have to make their case a lot more succinctly and clearly.
Greg, do you have a sense of the whole PaaS world? Is it happening in your eyes?
Absolutely, it is. I think the challenge there is it’s not just about establishing a platform as a service. Also, we talked before that the movement to cloud is not just about the technology but about the culture and business cases, and I think that platform as a service gives you the ability to help build that culture and help get everything moving in the same direction. So, I think philosophically, platform as a service adds an incredible amount of value for most organizations. But, I think it is still very early in the market and I think that whether you look at RedShift or Cloud Foundry or Pivotal, there’s lots of opportunities there and I think this is a good opportunity for companies to explore their options with that because I think we’re very early on with it. I would just go back to emphasizing that there’s just no one way to do cloud.
Scott, are you a believer in platform as a service? Do you think it’s going forward?
I would say that PaaS is very prevalent with our cloud customers. I don’t want to quote a statistic, but I’ll just say that an overwhelming number of our private cloud implementations include a PaaS component. I see a ton of value in platform as a service when… I forget, it might have been Andy that touched on this a minute ago, but when it uses a tool for the development teams to move faster, then I really like it and I think it’s fantastic. When it’s used as a choke point or a control point for IT because they look at it and they say, ahh, these people are using all of these tools, they’re using all of these different platforms, everything is configured differently, we can’t manage this. We’re going to stick a platform as a service in there and that will be our lockdown control point. If you can do it, here’s your guardrails, have a nice day. I hate that model. I hate the idea that 20 years of IT scar tissue policy are going to define how we can use some of these new tools. And so, if it’s a business driven implementation of a platform as a service, which is most of what we see, I really like it because, yes, you will be able to write code, push code, run code. It’s all about going fast. If it’s IT pushing it I’m much less of a fan.
Speaking of code, since we have Andy here with us. Is there a DevOps/Cloud myth? I think you practically wrote the book. Is there a myth we need to know about when it comes to dev ops and cloud?
Oh look, I wouldn’t say I wrote the book. I read the book, though. It was pretty good!
It’s important to have read the book if you haven’t actually written it.
Yeah, I definitely read the book. There is definitely a component to it. I have written a lot about the intersection of cloud and devops. You know, when you talk about devops as a cultural change and a way to write better and to move faster, clearly the ability to have a common cloud for a team to use, taking the operations barriers away from developers to be able to use their services, to be able to jump on and try to things, to be able to iterate really quickly. That’s one of the things that cloud is really good at. You can stand up a service very quickly, shut it down, try again, fix, go. Iteration is great, and devops is a lot about constant iteration, small pieces, feedback loops and that is great for that. There’s a big intersection between devops and cloud. Really positive synergy there.
So, the myth might be that devops is to be avoided, or is there a falsehood in there or do we just basically believe in devops?
I don’t know. I’m a true believer, let me tell you.
You are. And Greg, you and I were talking a little about the politics of chargebacks, like, charging for cloud use within the company. That’s kind of interesting, the way it gets charged across divisions. Talk a little bit about that.
Sure. The reason why this came up is there is a little bit of a debate, I think, within the analyst community, I don’t think end users debate this, but certainly in the analyst community, about how do you define what a public cloud is. How do you define what a private cloud is. And one of those nits for me has been when analysts try to say that charge back or show back is requirement for you to have a private cloud. A lot of organizations and a lot of large enterprises, the whole concept of charge back or show back is extremely controversial and extremely political because they’ve built their IT infrastructure not based on business lines or departments. It’s a shared service across the organization. So now when you try to apply a strict set of rules, which is what charge back exposes you to, as far as who’s consuming how much and when, that can create some animosities and some political challenges within an organization because you may have an unprofitable side of your business, maybe a development team, that is really doing great work but they’re not able to show profit back to the business. So to have that aligned against their cost creates all kinds of political controversy inside of a company.
I’m going to say – and I’m going to be curious to hear what Andy and Scott say – I’m going to guess that probably great than 90% of Fortune 500 enterprises have pushed back against the concept of charge backs, at least from what I’ve seen. That number may be a little bit lower, but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of enterprises are not keen on charge backs. And I think to create that as a requirement… you know, I get the analysts’ need to put some definition around what a cloud is. Their job is to measure and report back to their constituents and their clients these numbers about cloud adoption, but I think that it’s very very difficult, especially in private cloud environments, to pin that down and put charge backs squarely on a definition for a private cloud.
What about, in the time we have remaining, looking into the future. What is cloud computing going to look like in 2-5 or 3-5 years from now? Maybe some of these messes will get cleared up. Maybe some will remain with us. What is going to be happening in cloud in the next few years? Scott, what’s your take on sort of the immediate and near term future of cloud?
Oh, that’s an easy question.
Oh, good. It all goes to Amazon Web Services… It’s so broad, I guess it’s my way of saying, Scott, what do you want to say? Say whatever you want to say.
What do I want to say?
Yeah, or we can just go out to your pool if you want. If you have a glass of wine handy you can just go out to your pool.
Yeah, let’s absolutely do that. But, I think it just continues to… the idea of IT continues to move further up. Today we talk about PaaS and containers and dev ops and there’s not a lot of people that come in and say, ‘I’d like to have a serious conversation…’
Where there might have been in 2010 or something, you mean.
Well, yeah. You know, people were like, ‘Well, cloud is just fancy virtualization.’ And now I think people kind of realize that it’s not. And even devops is not about the scripting language you write things in. It’s the mindset that brings you to a wholly different way of thinking about IT. I’ve seen, I’d say in the last 12-18 months, I’ve really started to see an awakening with some of the larger enterprises and realized it is very much about the apps. It is very much about the data. And, you know, IT and the IT teams and data centers are all still very important. All the hardware? Very important. But the conversations are finally moving to the point where they’re about ‘what do I do with all of it?’. And a good business outcome, no secret I work for Cisco, the idea of business outcome has shifted from something like, hey, IT guy or gal, we’re going to shave off one millisecond from your ping times. And that was like a business outcome five years ago. Now, the business outcome is we’re going to help you figure out how to place that trade one millisecond faster than your competitor. So, that’s the conversation that we go into. So, when you ask me where does cloud go? Cloud goes further and further away from things that fit in a 19-inch rack. In terms of a conversation, those things are still there, they still show up and they’re still super important. But the conversation around cloud keeps moving, truly, into what you do with it. And I’ve only seemed to see us approach the tipping point of that probably in the last year.
You mean, cloud is being talked about in the C-suite in a larger and strategic sense more? Is that what you mean?
Yeah. Greg, looking into your crystal ball for the future – what do you see inside the year 2023 whereabouts?
I think Scott nailed it. I think we’re going to start talking less about cloud and start talking about more applications and services and value that IT is driving. I think it’s more tangible to get into services and applications. That’s going to be the biggest difference. I think the tone of the conversation is going to change. it’s going to be less about what’s behind the screen and more about delivering and how we’re performing against what the expectations of the business are. It really is entirely about business outcome.
Andy, your take on the future? And would you please use the word ‘containers’ in your answer? Just as a side change, if I can share this – It’s so interesting the way VMware was so disruptive in it’s day, and then containers came up and VMware seemed like it was slowly threatened by containers. But VMware sort of put it’s arm around containers and now VMware and containers are together so it’s interesting the way the disruptor can get disrupted and then it all.. whatever. But anyways. The future – where are we going?
I think Scott and Greg had some really good points in terms of business value. I continue to see my customers asking to connect and correlate the business value impact with the activity that’s happening. So, it becomes less and less about solo performance, network performance and any kind of performance or response times. It becomes more about how much revenue did this new program or application generate. How many user sign ups did I get from this new change that I put in last week? These sorts of things.
The other area, and I will use the word container, again, I think that cloud becomes ever more fragmented and disintegrated as we start to shrink down the unit of work, and I think to Greg’s point, we start to choose multiple clouds for different purposes and put together that whole stack of cloud. I think it becomes more disintegrated. More fragmented. More functional. More repeatable because you don’t have to re-write code. You just get to reuse it from this cloud or that cloud or wherever it comes from. That will create a lot of challenges in terms of correlating that business impact because you’re going to have one ‘service’ using fifty different clouds, with just a micro service from each of them, so it’s going to be challenging but I think it is going to generate much better results. We’re going to be able to get to those business outcomes faster, easier and probably cheaper, although that might be another myth we didn’t touch. Part of that is the micro services and containers, James. So, we’ll see how that all works out.
What do you mean about shrinking down the unit of work? Just so I get you on that one.
So, this is the whole concept of creating micro services and an API driven development where you create a single small unit of work, it might be a customer look up or a database update or it might be a call to all partners service where it’s a very specific and small unit of work and you connect these all together in a complex system and you may not even have them all in one place. You probably won’t have them all in one cloud. These individual, tiny micro services will be distributed to the four corners of the earth.
Good, we got micro services in there as well. I feel complete now.
I think I filled out my cloud bingo card here. I’m good.
Micro services for 39! Yes!
Alright gentlemen, thank you. I’ll send you the link. We’ll get a transcript of this and also an audio version, believe it or not. It’ll be words and podcasts and video. We’ll send it out all over the word and we can tweet about it. Thank you very much. It was great.
Thank you, James.
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Differences Between Cloud Computing vs Fog Computing
Cloud computing uses remote servers or computers across the internet to perform data operations, store, and manage data instead of using a local computer or server. Cloud computing offers delivery services directly over the internet. The services provided by Cloud computing can be of any type, such as storage, databases, software, applications, network, servers, etc. Fog computing is the term Cisco coined, which means extending services beyond cloud computing to the enterprise’s requirements. It consists of a decentralized environment for computing in which the infrastructure provides storage, applications, data, and computations. Fog Computing is also called Fog Networking or Fogging.
Start Your Free Data Science CourseHead-to-Head Comparison Between Cloud Computing and Fog Computing
Below are the top 7 comparisons between Cloud Computing and Fog Computing:Key Differences Between Cloud Computing and Fog Computing
Below are the most important Differences Between Cloud Computing and Fog Computing:
1. Cloud computing architecture has different components such as storage, databases, servers, networks, etc. In contrast, Fog computing has all the features similar to that cloud computing, including some additional features of efficient and powerful storage and performance between systems and cloud networks.
2. Cloud computing architecture systems can be divided into two sections, a front end, and a back end, in which both will be connected as a network. In contrast, Fog computing extends cloud computing by providing features at the network’s edge.
3. The front-end section of cloud computing is called the User interface, where the end-users or customers use the cloud computing services, whereas the back end is the cloud computing network’s cloud section. In contrast, Fog computing aims to improve efficiency and reduce the transformation of data or data operations from and to remote networks distributed across different locations.
4. The client can access the different types of services through the front-end section of cloud computing. The user can usually access services like a local computer but will be accessed by connecting to a network. In contrast, Fog computing is being supported by a large open group consortium called Open Fog Consortium, which was formed in November 2024 by a group of companies such as Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, ARM, and Princeton University.
5. In cloud computing, the back end section includes the servers, different computers, storage, and database systems interconnected with each other to form a cloud network distributed across different locations. In contrast, Fog computing processes the data in Central Server by collecting the data from various devices deployed at long distances or locations far from the central server.
7. A central server exists in cloud computing to administer or manage the different computers or servers connected; their interactions and mechanisms will be controlled and managed, whereas Fog computing supports most of the devices in IoT – Internet of Things compared to cloud computing by providing more compliance and ease of migration.
8. A middleware exists along with the central server to establish a communication protocol among multiple servers and to communicate with each other safely and securely. In contrast, Fog Computing supports many IoT applications and big data services by handling large amounts of data and various devices.
9. We make all the data stored in the central database server storage available as a backup to ensure high availability in case of server failures, which is called redundancy. In contrast, Fog Computing has more extensive distribution across geographical areas by efficiently supporting many users across the network.
10. The main core component of cloud computing is the Internet / Network, without which the entire network collapses, and there is no way of connecting to the cloud servers. Fog Computing has different applications ranging from the Internet of Things to Human-Machine Interactions ranging wide applications.
11. Many end-users can connect to the cloud servers from the remote machines using Virtual Device Interfaces called Virtual Machines, called Virtualization. We can consider Fog computing whenever extreme edges such as railways, ships, vehicles, and roadways collect a large amount of data.
13. Fog computing mainly utilizes local computer resources rather than accessing remote computer resources, causing a decrease in latency issues and performance, further making it more powerful and efficient.
14. Providers offer cloud computing services based on server applications, enabling users from any location to access services from different devices such as computers, mobiles, tablets, etc.
15. Fog computing has many benefits, such as it provides greater business agility, deeper insights into security control, better privacy, and less operation. It has an extra layer of an edge that supports and is similar to that of cloud computing and Internet of Things applications. Fog computing mainly provides low latency in the network by providing instant response while working with interconnected devices.Cloud Computing and Fog Computing Comparison Table
Below are the points that describe the comparisons Between Cloud Computing and Fog Computing.
Basis For Comparison Cloud Computing Fog Computing
Latency Cloud Computing has low latency but not compared to Fog Computing. Fog Computing has low latency in terms of a network.
Capacity Cloud Computing does not provide any reduction in data while sending or transforming data. Fog Computing reduces the amount of data sent to cloud computing.
Bandwidth Cloud computing conserves less compared with Fog Computing. Fog Computing conserves the amount of bandwidth.
Responsiveness In Fog Computing, the response time of the system is low. In Fog Computing, the response time of the system is high.
Security High but less compared to Fog Computing. High Security.
Speed Depending on the VM connectivity, the access speed increases. High even more compared to Cloud Computing.
Data Integration Someone can integrate multiple data sources. Someone can integrate multiple data sources and devices.Conclusion
Someone can obtain the main benefits from Fog computing compared to cloud computing. Fog computing has low latency and a high response rate, which has become the most recommended compared to cloud computing. It supports the Internet of Things as well as compared to Cloud Computing. People prefer and recommend Fog computing for more efficiency and high productivity regarding large users and widely distributed networks.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to Cloud Computing vs Fog Computing. Here we have discussed Cloud Computing vs Fog Computing head-to-head comparisons, key differences, infographics, and comparison table. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –
As enterprise applications sprawl beyond corporate perimeters and as SaaS, Web Services and cloud-based applications continue to gain traction, organizations are learning something the hard way: their access and enforcement mechanisms aren’t ready for this new reality in the way employees and end-users do business.
Forcing employees to remember a slew of passwords is a non-starter, yet many IDs, roles, policies and privileges are stored in proprietary directories of various legacy applications. Many of these were designed well before the cloud, SaaS and mobile devices all became status quo.
Secure access is one of the main security sticking points with cloud computing. A variety of SSO (single sign-on) identity federation standards, such as SAML (Security Assertion Markup Language), OpenID and the Microsoft- and IBM-backed WS-Federation, offer guidance. However, it takes a lot of work to turn those standards into real-world solutions.
This is where IDM (identity management) and SSO vendors can help. A number of startups have been rolling out IDM and SSO solutions that are specifically designed to integrate with cloud, SaaS and Web 2.0 architectures. Incumbent security providers also are waking up to this problem, but many of their solutions entail clumsy retrofits, high operational costs and the need to own two solutions: one for traditional on-premise apps and one for the cloud.
When choosing an SSO or IDM solution, here are five questions to ask to help you identify the best solution for your organization:
For Dave Leiker, the Web and Electronic Media Manager for the Emporia, Kansas Unified School District #253, managing Internet access for over 5,000 students, teachers and staff presented a unique set of challenges. IT administrators needed to restrict web traffic while managing student email account activity. At the same time, Leiker was in the process of migrating the school district’s core applications to Google Apps.
Leiker prefers the browser-based design of Google Apps and believes that moving to cloud-based apps is a way to prepare for the future. After all, device form factors may change radically over the next few years, but the browser and the cloud should have staying power.
However, Leiker identified a major conflict that threatened to undermine the school district’s migration to the cloud.
“Keeping email accounts in synch was really a nightmare,” Leiker said. “We quickly saw that the same problem would reoccur with Google Apps, where we’d have to administer each application separately or figure out how to tie those accounts back to Active Directory or just rely on generic passwords, which would mean we’d have poor security.”
Leiker hoped to find a solution that would tie into Active Directory, which was a hurdle with many IDM and SSO providers. Many recommended using entirely different credentialing systems in the cloud. Leiker didn’t want to manage two different identity management systems, which would add administrative overhead and could undermine security.
Leiker eventually turned to the IEP (Identity Enforcement Platform) solution from SecureAuth, a solution which not only validates identities in Active Directory and performs strong authentication against those identities, but also then automatically generates a SAML assertion for Google Apps.
With SecureAuth IEP, Emporia now has a SSO solution to secure email, Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange and a range of other applications. Moreover, since SecureAuth is an all-software solution that leverages existing directory services and is purpose built for the cloud, SSO is future-proofed. That is, Leiker can easily secure and manage access to an array of new devices, such as smartphones and tablets.
Greg Colegrove, Director of IT Operations and Communications Services for the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, was struggling to keep up with the ongoing administration of GroupWise. In recent years, the campus has experienced record growth, while the IT staff has not grown at all. Obviously, Colegrove needed to find some manual tasks that he and his staff could automate.
At the same time, students were requesting remote access to email and other apps from mobile devices, something that would have been a challenge with their existing email and authentication systems.
Cloud backup is very common for businesses and individuals. However, vendors are pouring resources into development of better cloud-based backup and recovery (BUR) and disaster recovery (DR) for mid-sized and the enterprise. The goal is to evolve from simple departmental or ROBO backup to high RTO and RPO service levels, application recovery and virtual data centers in the cloud. These services are already available for smaller deployments in private and hybrid clouds, and hyperscale clouds are pursuing similar development.Cloud Storage and Backup Benefits
Protecting your company’s data is critical. Cloud storage with automated backup is scalable, flexible and provides peace of mind. Cobalt Iron’s enterprise-grade backup and recovery solution is known for its hands-free automation and reliability, at a lower cost. Cloud backup that just works.
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Managed Service or DIY?
Working with a managed service provider or professional services is a good plan for many companies, particularly those who are looking to the benefits of hyperscaled public clouds. At this point in cloud development, optimizing public clouds for application and data protection is not a common skill. Many other companies will choose to work with managed services. Some of these SPs will lease space on the public cloud for their clients; others will provide their own clouds for their customers.
The opposite side of the coin is self-service portals to administrate cloud DR in-house. This level of administration takes sufficient staff and expertise on Amazon or Google cloud offerings. These staff experts will need to understand the basics of cloud architecture including security, availability, location, provisioning, consolidation ratios, and performance patterns.
Remember too that cloud DR choices are not black and white. Match the speed of recovery you buy to your budget and business needs by thinking in terms of cold, warm and hot recovery environments. Cold DR is traditionally vaulted tape; in the cloud it might be Amazon Glacier for very long-term retention. (And incidentally, slow and expensive recovery.) Warm cloud-based DR corresponds to warm cloud DR sites with a pilot light design, which spins up virtual servers when needed. This is a less expensive option than hot failover sites and will provide RTO in hours, not minutes. This service level nevertheless suits many Tier 2 applications, even business-critical ones. Hot DR in the cloud corresponds to nearline tiers, providing RTO within minutes and immediately spinning up virtual servers in the cloud for business continuity. Companies can mix and match these tiers to best suit business needs.
Whatever IT decides, cloud platforms must meet the customer’s overall business goals. Do not merely look at the fact of cloud-based backup and recovery; look at service levels, backup and recovery performance, DRaaS offerings, flexibility, and a tiered computing environment in the cloud. Understand the level of cloud services you need to fit your business goals.
Cloud Backup Vendors
It would be difficult to find a vendor who does not backup to a cloud today. The trick is to match data and application recovery needs to the level of backup service. This is simple to do with SMB where leading vendors include Acronis, Zetta and Barracuda. It is not so simple with vendors who are leading the evolution for the enterprise to hyperscale clouds. Four leading examples of cloud BUR/DR software vendors include Symantec/Veritas, Veeam, Unitrends and Zerto.
Symantec’s Veritas Resiliency Platform is in a hybrid cloud starring NetBackup, which catalogs VM application objects from an image backup. Auto Image Replication (AIR) replicates backup and metadata to remote location for failover.
Veeam Backup & Replication for virtual machines offers Cloud Connect, which sends forever-incremental backups to the cloud. Users can recover data directly from a backup console.
Unitrends Cloud takes Recovery-Series backup appliances and Unitrends Enterprise Backup (UEB) products and extends them into the cloud. Cloud capabilities include backup, archiving, physical and virtual server instant recovery and recovery assurance. CloudHook technology also enables connections to AWS, Google and Rackspace.
For more, Taneja Group’s BrightTalk channel has an hour-long panel discussion with Symantec, Unitrends, Veeam and Zerto to discuss the ramifications of moving DR to the public cloud.
There will always be a role for private and hybrid clouds but development is increasingly towards large public clouds with their flexible architecture, usage-based cost, and massive scalability/hyperscale. As yet public clouds are not the best solution; they are good solutions and rich investment into continued development is making them better. They key is that the public cloud vendors are actively developing for software-defined data center models for maximum customer scalability and flexible offerings. The model is in its beginning stages but adoption rates are accelerating. At the same time, developing more flexible clouds ad inter-cloud movement means that customers will not be locked-in so easily.
If you are not already using the cloud to meet your BUR/DR goals, start now. Look well beyond simply copying backup to the cloud. Research cloud backup offerings for backup, RTO/RPO, and spinning up servers in the cloud for DR. It’s up to you if you choose an SP or deal directly with a cloud backup vendor. Either way, go with a pilot project for replicating data and for cloud failover.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
ALSO SEE: Are SaaS/Cloud Computing Vendors Offering Questionable Contracts?
There’s been at least as much healthy skepticism about cloud computing as there has been optimism and real results. And there ought to be, especially as cloud computing moves out of buzzword territory and becomes an increasingly powerful tool for extending IT resources.
To that end, here’s a rundown of ten key things both creators and users of cloud computing should continue to bear in mind.
The good news is that the very nature of the cloud may be compelling more real thought about security – on every level – than before. The bad news is that a poorly written application can be just as insecure in the cloud, maybe even more so.
Cloud architectures don’t automatically grant security compliance for the end-user data or apps on them, and so apps written for the cloud always have to be secure on their own terms. Some of the responsibility for this does fall to cloud vendors, but the lion’s share of it is still in the lap of the application designer.
A cloud computing-based solution shouldn’t become just another passive utility like the phone system, where the owners simply puts a tollbooth on it and charges more and more while providing less and less. In short, don’t give competitors a chance to do an end run around you because you’ve locked yourself into what seems like the best way to use the cloud, and given yourself no good exit strategy. Cloud computing is constantly evolving. Getting your solution in place simply means your process of monitoring and improving can now begin.
We’re probably past the days when people thought clouds were just big server clusters, but that doesn’t mean we’re free of ignorance about the cloud moving forward. There are all too many misunderstandings about how public and private clouds (or conventional datacenters and cloud infrastructures) do and don’t work together, misunderstandings about how easy it is to move from one kind of infrastructure to another, how virtualization and cloud computing do and don’t overlap, and so on.
A good way to combat this is to present customers with real-world examples of what’s possible and why, so they can base their understanding on actual work that’s been done and not just hypotheticals where they’re left to fill in the blanks themselves.
Cloud infrastructures, like a lot of other IT innovations, don’t always happen as top-down decrees. They may happen from the bottom up, in a back room somewhere, or on an employee’s own time from his own PC.
Examples of this abound: consider a New York Times staffer’s experience with desktop cloud computing. Make a “sandbox” space within your organization for precisely this kind of experimentation, albeit with proper standards of conduct (e.g., not using live data that might be proprietary as a safety measure). You never know how it’ll pay off.
The biggest example of this: Amazon EC2. As convenient as it is to develop for the cloud using EC2 as one of the most common types of deployments, it’s also something to be cautious of. Ad-hoc standards are a two-edged sword.
On the plus side, they bootstrap adoption: look how quickly a whole culture of cloud computing has sprung up around EC2. On the minus side, it means that much less space for innovators to create something open, to let things break away from the ad-hoc standards and can be adopted on their own. (Will the Kindle still be around in ten years?) Always be mindful of how the standards you’re using now can be expanded or abandoned.
When Google released 16 new business apps in the Apps Marketplace earlier this month, the move bolstered Google’s claim that it now provides a viable alternative to Office.
Not to be outdone, Microsoft released a Web-based version of Office a week later, indicating that it too is serious about the cloud.
Then came word that Google and Dell were working on a deal to put the forthcoming Chrome OS on Dell PCs.
Nevertheless, as the enterprise moves slowly but steadily toward cloud computing, Google is the tech behemoth with cloud pedigree, while Microsoft is playing catch-up. Sure, Microsoft has been talking about the cloud for years, much in the way that it touted Web tablets a decade ago. But what happened with tablets? Microsoft flopped and had to grit its teeth as the iPad stole its thunder.
Could the same scenario play out in the cloud?
When I spoke to Michael E. Dortch, Director of Research for FOCUS, an IT market research firm, he cautioned that Microsoft’s track record makes it a pretty safe bet to be a major player in the cloud.
With many past innovations, such as the browser, Microsoft was late to market, but ended up dominating. The big difference this time around, though, is the level of the competition. When Microsoft wrestled the browser away from Netscape, it prevailed against an upstart with no proven revenue model.
In contrast, Google achieved a net income of $6.5 billion for FY 2009.
“Remember, though, Microsoft is on each and every desktop,” Dortch said. When I pointed out that Google is too, Dortch noted a key distinction: “Everyone uses Google, but few in IT actually buy from them. Google is as unknown an entity to IT, as a business partner, as Microsoft is as a cloud provider.”
Several marquee customers have made the switch to Google Apps, including the City of Los Angeles, biotech firm Genentech and consumer electronics giant Motorola.
In fact, Google claims more than 25 million business users for Google Apps, all of whom have adopted Google Apps in the last three years. That’s some serious momentum.
While some organizations have done forklift migrations to Google, what is more common is for companies to get their feet wet with Google without abandoning Microsoft altogether.
Lincoln Property Company, one of the nation’s largest property development and management firms, actually converted to Google not from Microsoft but from Novell GroupWise. As they were investigating alternatives to GroupWise, the professional services firm they were working with, Cloud Sherpas, recommended Google Apps. Cloud Sherpas has helped almost 2,000 organizations migrate to Google Apps and away from Exchange, GroupWise and Lotus Notes.
“Our email archive was getting so big that it was difficult to back up,” said Jay Kenney, CIO for Lincoln Property. “Our SAN was outdated, and it came down to buying new hardware and most likely embarking on a virtualization effort, which would require significant upfront spending. Or we could move to the cloud.”
Lincoln Property chose the cloud. “By outsourcing email, we’ve freed several servers, avoided the headache of virtualizing our infrastructure and saved a lot of money in the process,” Kenney said.
Lincoln Property still relies on Office, but in order to make Office collaborative, they turn to Google. While Microsoft is beefing up the collaboration features in Office, not everyone is ready to upgrade – and they don’t have to. Google already delivers cheap collaboration without having to abandon legacy Office suites.
In these days of dwindling IT budgets, Rajen Sheth, group product manager for Google Apps, points to another reason to abandon expensive on-premise apps.
“IT is becoming more and more difficult to maintain,” Sheth said. “Businesses spend so much time and money on management and maintenance that they lose sight of their core businesses.”
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