Wednesday, December 10, 2008

CloudComputing: Fast, Cheap and Robust

Great story in BusinessWeek about cloud computing. Cloud Computing Is No Pipe Dream -
Tech pundits and practitioners alike have spilled lots of ink to hype cloud computing. They'll encourage you to think of it as IT infrastructure on demand -- like plugging into the power grid to get electricity, or turning on a faucet to get water, but getting raw computing power instead. To boot, you'll get access to storage capacity and software-based services -- and it can scale infinitely, proponents point out.

If this all sounds too good to be true -- like so much cold fusion, the now-debunked tabletop nuclear fusion reactor in a bottle -- don't be fooled. This time, getting more for less is real. And with the economy of its currently parlous condition, businesses have never needed cloud computing more.

To understand why, consider the historical perspective:

It has been nearly 15 years since Google (GOOG) Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, then chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems (JAVA), articulated a simple proposition: "When the network becomes as fast as the processor, the computer hollows out and spreads across the network."

Fast, Cheap, and Robust

Well, guess what. Today's networks are able to move data as fast, or faster, than semiconductors can process it. All that late-1990s overinvestment in high-speed fiber-optic networks has given us communications networks that are lightning fast, relatively inexpensive, and remarkably robust -- capable of transforming how we access, organize, and share computing resources.

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