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Rainforests for Cloud Computing Print
February 2010
Compucon New Zealand
Rainforests for Cloud Computing
February 2010

Cloud Computing is Internet based use of information service.  Wikipedia (the most popular Internet based encyclopedia) defines the following applications as under the umbrella of Cloud Computing.

o Software as a Service
o Utility Computing
o Web Services
o Managed Service Providers

With major global players investing seriously in Cloud Computing infrastructure, chances are that Cloud Computing will become more compelling as time goes on.  Should the average business organization jump onto the bandwagon now or later?  We do not attempt to provide any guidance on when to jump or when not to jump but we will attempt to provide some guidance on how the average business or organization can put these global developments into perspective and gain maximum benefits from their own specific investments in information systems.

We propose a Rainforest model.  Rainforests are an important part of the global climate eco-system.  They are mostly self adaptive and they contribute to the stability of the biosphere of the Earth.

Treat the server room of your company as the rainforest.  You have the equipment at your premises and you have IT people on your payroll.  This combination of assets provides and supports a certain level of your information needs on a day to day basis.

There are two variations of the rainforest model.  One is having the equipment at your premises and outsourcing the management of the equipment.  The other is using your own human resources to manage information systems located outside your own premises.

Cloud Computing is a totally different scenario.  In contrast to the above described Rainforest scenarios, you do not know where the Cloud Operators (such as Google and Yahoo!) keep their servers to run your email accounts or store your email files.  Also you do not hire people to work there to keep all servers and storage operating- the equipment and people are all in the Clouds.  You outsource servers and labours to the clouds and pay as you go (unless the service is free).

In order to obtain maximum benefits from your investments, you will need to compare the long term returns and costs of having everything under your direct control with the "pay as you go" scheme.  You will need flexibility and this means that the equipment and the payroll shall be modular and scalable.  Also, the information systems in the Rainforest shall have green features such as the highest benchmark in performance per watt or space or cost.

In summary, this Rainforest concept is to introduce the third factor for purchase decisions.  Fitness of Purpose shall always stay as Number One and Total Cost of Ownership is Number Two.  Cloud Computing will have an impact on these 2 - two factors and Rainforest considerations are the guide.

Biography

Compucon New Zealand is a specialist computer system builder based in Auckland New Zealand (www.compucon.co.nz). We build computers, workstations, servers and storage systems for the business community under an ISO-9000 certified quality system and help push up customer productivity and competitive advantages.  We provide consulting and technical support services.  TN Chan is the System Architect of the operation and the editor of this article.