The Public Cloud Paradox

door | 26 maart 2016

For more then a decade infor­ma­tion tech­no­logy is shifting from centra­lized compute power into decen­tra­lized personal computing. Modern tech­no­logy made this possible by doubling the perfor­mance of the central proces­sing unit within every two years (Moore‘s law). We are entering the stage that Mainframe power is becoming Public and that public Cloud is becoming main­stream. This makes us all mainframe users on a micro-scale with PC‘s, Tablets and smartphones. All the data we produce and digest are centra­lized via Cloud computing and made available at any moment in time at your finger­tips.

Big Public cloud players like Dropbox, Spotify, Apple, Google and Microsoft are the drivers for shifting your infor­ma­tion toward the Cloud.

For those who don’t follow this space, a public Cloud is a huge pool of shared servers, storage, and networ­king owned and managed by a single provider, where Amazon, Microsoft and Google are the key players. Those providers, in turn, rent that capacity to customers ranging from small busi­nesses to Fortune 500 companies.

The big shift from Public to Private Cloud

Public Cloud seems not always as attemp­ting as it may look, news goes around that Dropbox, which had long used Amazon Web Services to store most of its digital stuff, acknow­ledged that it had moved most of that (90%) to its own infra­struc­ture.
Dropbox stores two kinds of data: file content and metadata about files and users. They always had a hybrid cloud archi­tec­ture, hosting metadata and their web servers in data centers they already manage, and storing file content on Amazon (AWS).

There is a thin-line between the ability to scale your opera­tions reliably and grow as fast as you like with Public Cloud services, and to have confi­dence in just one single Cloud provider. The most companies with massive amounts of data to store and manage may want more than one source to turn to for that work. Who wants to be reliant on a single vendor for anything that important?

Like the saying goes:
“Do not put all your eastern-eggs within the same basket”

Probably the best kept secret is that Apple has been using AWS and Microsoft Azure clouds for its own iCloud storage service, and now also throwing some of that work over to Google.
It seems that Apple will use whatever cloud providers it needs for now, to squeeze price conces­sions out of the other providers until it has enough of its own infra­struc­ture in place to run iCloud entirely on its own. Looks like they will follow the Dropbox strategy.

Also Spotify is moving, but within the opposite direction. Until now the company has main­tained its own data servers, leasing space near listeners so that it can stream music as quickly as desired. Now the company is saying goodbye to that approach and is saying hello to the Google Cloud Platform. Even Netflix long the best example of a pionee­ring Amazon client, now also uses Google Cloud’s storage for archiving.

Many companies talk about mini­mi­zing cost on such things as data­cen­ters and servers, where Amazon, Microsoft and Google seek to capi­ta­lize on, meanwhile keeping up with the massive amount of data we all produce at every heartbeat. Those providers will need to colla­bo­rate by sharing their data­center footprint for the ongoing request of resources to keep up with capacity (volume) versus the uptime of their services (value), and this all in favor of the consumer of infor­ma­tion.

It would be compel­ling to see if Apple, Google or Microsoft someday provide us the choice of which data­center between each-other we would like to store our data. Inte­res­ting, but it’s probably not going to happen.

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