Is cloud computing fast enough? This might sound like a strange question to pose. After all, modern microprocessors are driving our desktop and mobile computers faster than ever and we rarely stop to ask “what speed” a computer is anymore do we?
But there are real reasons for questioning speed when it comes to the cloud. Remember, the public cloud computing model relies on connection to an external third party datacenter and so an inherent distance or “latency” is logically created.
While distance from a cloud data center will not have as much of an impact on modest workloads — if so-called “rich” data such as video media files, high-resolution images or perhaps massive databases etc. need to perform high volume transactions and storage functions, then it could become a consideration.
Even before we get to the point of live operation in a cloud computing environment, we also recognize the issue of “initial upload”, where a company has to get its data into the cloud servers that it will use in future. This is of course an intrinsic part of the “migration” process that any firm will have to undertake. Cloud service providers may offer upload services as-a-Service in its own right, or indeed they may not.
This data upload then is a fundamental part of migration planning and should be a consideration for all firms eyeing virtualization opportunities offered by cloud hosting providers.
What’s on in the cloud?
Answering the ‘Is cloud computing fast enough?’ question is also made easier if we know exactly what the cloud services a firm buys will be used for. If it is mainly email and other desktop applications, then speed will rarely be an issue. But if heavyweight database level applications or those with high data throughput and/or complex event processing functions start to appear, then speed and performance start to become a buying factor.
At this point, a firm will want to analyze its cloud provider opportunities and ask whether it can get the best deal in the same country (or state) as current headquarters and offices, or whether it should look internationally further afield.
So is cloud computing fast enough? Actually, it depends, as shown above. But what is important here is selecting a cloud that will perform correctly for the task in hand. Otherwise cracks (security related or otherwise) can start to appear and the cloud that once looked like it had silver linings can suddenly appear black.