What is the Promise of Cloud Computing?

And does it always live up to expectations?

I’m not sure when I started to recognize repeated economic cycles of boom and bust. What I do know is the more I read history, the more I notice similar repeated cycles in other areas of our daily lives including geo-political, sociological, legislative and ever-evolving technological landscapes such as cloud computing.

As an avid reader of history, it is becoming evident that a lot of these cycles seem to be accelerating exponentially. This is most notable around the development of technology and even more prevalent in how we consume this technology.

Today we witness increasing innovation around the ‘as a service’ delivery mechanism where consumers and businesses pay as they go, one such example is cloud computing. This rate of change can be challenging for the survival of any government, brand, or organization as they continually try to adapt to keep up with market forces.

Never before has it been so increasingly instrumental to adapt. This ability to adapt at the speed of thought has driven the advent and rapid adoption of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that not only delivers the resources as and when we need them but also offers the ability to turn them off again when we don’t. 

We no longer have to architect, implement and manage our computational, storage and networking resources, we can simply consume them in a similar way we do with any of our utilities such as gas, water and electricity. On-demand and delivered as a service. Once the initial installation has taken place, we simply turn them on when we need them and turn them off again when we don’t. This is the promise of Cloud for storage, networking and computing, a utility model that delivers flexible operational expenditure rather than traditional centuries-old inflexible and expensive capital expenditure. 

So has Cloud Computing lived up to expectations? Well, this is a subjective question and varies for many organizations, but while on the whole, it has delivered well, it has in a number of cases not done so well. But not all is lost. Just consider how recently IaaS was introduced, we are talking just a handful of decades at most, perhaps in its current guise, maybe just one or two decades. So in many ways, we are still learning and Cloud Computing is still evolving. Let’s examine a little closer these areas of success and some notable gaps in the delivery of cloud services.

Where Cloud has done well

Cloud computing has delivered well on expectations in various areas.

  1. Scalability and Elasticity: One of the key promises of cloud computing is the ability to scale resources up or down based on demand. Cloud platforms like Zadara Edge Cloud Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) have provided businesses with the flexibility to quickly and easily scale their infrastructure as needed. This scalability has been particularly beneficial for startups and growing businesses that require the ability to handle sudden spikes in traffic or workloads.


  2. Cost Efficiency: Cloud computing has helped organizations optimize their IT costs. By moving to the cloud, businesses can eliminate the need for upfront infrastructure investments and the associated maintenance costs. Cloud providers such as Zadara offer pay-as-you-go models, allowing companies to only pay for the resources they actually use. This pay-per-usage approach has proven to be cost-effective, especially for businesses with fluctuating workloads.


  3. Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity: Cloud computing has significantly enhanced disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities. Traditional backup and recovery methods can be time-consuming and costly. By leveraging the cloud, businesses can automate backup processes, replicate data across multiple regions, and quickly recover systems and applications in the event of a disaster. Zadara Edge Cloud offers robust backup and disaster recovery services that are AWS compatible and can act as a business continuity strategy in the event of AWS going offline.

Where Cloud has not done so well

While cloud computing has delivered many benefits to organizations, it has also fallen short in a number of areas

  1. Downtime and Service Disruptions: Despite the promises of high availability and reliability, cloud services have experienced occasional outages and downtime. Even major cloud providers like AWS, Azure, and GCP have experienced service disruptions that have impacted businesses relying on their platforms. These disruptions can result in significant downtime, loss of productivity, and potential financial losses for organizations. 

    Zadara Response to Downtime and Service Disruptions:
    Cloud companies like Zadara are used by many organizations as part of a business continuity plan offering a separate independent IaaS in the event of a major cloud provider going down. With AWS-compatible EC2 Compute alongside S3 compatible Object, File and Block Storage, business continuity is better assured. 

  2. Data Sovereignty Concerns: There are now increasing concerns around data sovereignty, with legislation such as the introduction of the Cloud Act in 2018, this allows federal law enforcement to compel U.S.-based technology companies via warrant or subpoena to provide requested data stored on servers regardless of whether data is stored in the U.S. or on foreign soil1.

    Zadara Response to Data Sovereignty Concerns:
    Zadara’s global Edge Cloud service provider network with over 500 points of presence, is designed to give you the greatest possible control over your data and your customer’s data, no matter where your business and customers are located. Zadara’s unique approach reduces dependence on overseas cloud service providers who operate under nonresident legislation, mitigating potential security risks associated with hosting sensitive data outside of the host country.

  3. Vendor Lock-In: Moving to the cloud often requires businesses to commit to a specific cloud provider and their ecosystem. Migrating applications and data to a particular provider’s platform can create vendor lock-in, making it challenging to switch to another provider in the future. This lack of portability and unplanned ingress and egress costs can limit flexibility and hinder the ability to take advantage of competitive pricing or new technologies from different vendors.

    Zadara Response Vendor Lock-In:
    Zadara delivers S3 compatible Object, File and Block Storage alongside EC2-compatible compute platforms, helping customers avoid lock-In and offer an alternative for storage and movement of data without the unplanned ingress and egress costs.

  4. Dependence on Internet Connectivity: Cloud computing heavily relies on Internet connectivity. If an organization’s internet connection is unreliable or experiences disruptions, it can hinder access to cloud resources, applications, and data. This dependence on connectivity poses challenges for businesses operating in areas with limited or unstable internet infrastructure. Additionally, latency issues can arise when accessing cloud resources from geographically distant locations, impacting performance for certain applications or services.

    Zadara Response to Dependence on Internet Connectivity:
    Zadara offers fully managed IaaS on-prem as well as in the Cloud, so for remote organizations where Internet connectivity is unreliable or any potential downtime is too costly a risk, you can enjoy all the benefits of Cloud Compute and Storage but on your own premises so avoiding the impact of any internet downtime.

    Zadara has been delivering IaaS for over a decade at the time of writing. In that time they have built some 500 global clouds to deliver File, Block and Object Storage alongside EC2-compatible compute infrastructure. Zadara works hard to help customers and partners solve infrastructure challenges others have not been able to fully address.

    Businesses and Governments need to relentlessly adapt to survive. If you are looking to reduce operational costs and minimize time to revenue, all while reducing business risk and ensuring your IT architecture is best positioned to adapt to unforeseen changes such as addressing local data sovereignty needs, I would recommend setting up some time to speak with one of the team members at Zadara to discuss your unique needs and see how we can help.

1  https://www.alstonprivacy.com/cloud-act-impact-cross-border-access-contents-communications/

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Mark Lewis

Mark is responsible for Product Marketing at Zadara, based near to London, UK. He has over three decades of experience across engineering, sales and marketing having previously held international leadership roles at large corporate and fast-growth organizations including BT, Sun Microsystems, Riverbed, Nutanix and VMWare.

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