Skip to Content

Cloud Computing – a panacea ?

Currently Cloud computing is one of the hottest topic in IT industry.  Some of the big guns in the industry are eagerly looking forward to it and some others are snubbing this concept.  Open Source Guru Richard Stallman and Oracle founder Larry Ellison belong to the second category of the people. “It’s stupidity. It’s worse than stupidity: it’s a marketing hype campaign,” Stallman told the Guardian.  So let us analyze Cloud computing against the backdrop of all these fuss.I would like to recapitulate my findings and opinions about cloud computing through this blog.

Cloud Computing


Gartner recently defined cloud computing as “a style of computing in which massively scalable

IT-enabled capabilities are delivered ‘as a service’ to multiple customers using Internet technologies”. So Cloud computing allows consumers and businesses to use applications without installation and access their personal files at any computer with internet access. This technology allows for much more efficient computing by centralizing storage, memory, processing and bandwidth.  Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.

The IT capabilities offered through cloud computing can be grouped into three general categories:Developer Tools (Platform as a Service, or PaaS)

This model delivers a computing platform that gives users the resources they need to develop and deploy web-based applications without purchasing, installing, and managing the supporting hardware and software systems.

Business applications (Software as a Service, or SaaS)

This model makes it possible for organizations to license applications as a service on demand, thus avoiding the need to purchase and maintain software installations across their business. SaaS is customarily offered via a subscription model with fees based on usage. SaaS providers usually offer both the software and support, and often partner with third-party hosting providers that help operate and support their SaaS systems.

Infrastructure resources (Infrastructure as a Service, or IaaS)

In this model, the cloud is a form of utility infrastructure. The primary attraction is that an enterprise can get all the computing capacity it needs for vital business applications without having to design, acquire, build, and manage an underlying infrastructure.

Is Cloud Computing a new concept ?


Cloud Computing is a new term in IT industry but it is not a new concept.  It’s the modern version of the timesharing model from the 1960s, which was eventually killed by the rise of the personal computer.  As far as concept of cloud computing is concerned it is just old wine in a new bottle.  So the host of cloud computing changed from Time sharing to internet.  The old timesharing model arose because computers were expensive and hard to maintain. Modern computers and networks are drastically cheaper, but they’re still hard to maintain. As networks have become faster, it is again easier to have someone else do the hard work. Computing has become more of a utility; users are more concerned with results than technical details.

Cloud Computing and BI


Cloud computing can offer a lot in BI area. Most of the BI tools available in industry are not exploiting the usage of internet completely. Cloud computing is a method to use internet extensively to give fast access of data through end users laptops or business phones. Cloud computing is capable of making a huge change  in BI industry if this is able to address only one concern – Security.

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.
  • I know cloud computing is/would be useful for small business owners, developers interested in protyping their ideas etc. Not sure if it would be useful/viable for large enterprises. Virtualization is probably going to be more attractive to them.

    I am not sure how cloud computing can offer a lot in BI space.


    • Cloud computing will be really useful for small business owners.
      Even small business owners should analyse their performance to get a competitive edge in the industry. The best way to analyse is to get some reports. But these kind of companies might not be able to spend a lot on datawarehousing servers and processors. If cloud computing is there they can make use of this facility to get reports on a pay-per-use basis…
      Google doc is one of the famous cloud computing application available today.
  • my personal take on cloud computing is the old html redirect tag or HTTP-EQUIV=”REFRESH”. you think you know where you are going, but as soon as you launch it you end up somewhere else 😉
  • Very Nice topic…

    Cloud  Computing  was largely  misunderstood.  As  cloud computing  was never  an  architecture  or  infrastructure. We can‘t practically draw a boundary as  Internet & everything forms SaaS.

    I would like to know more from you how increased influence of Clouds affects Package Application Business?

    Thanks! Good blog!

  • I tend to agree with Larry Ellison on that one.

    When I use Gmail or Facebook I use an application – I don’t use “cloud computing”. In fact I can not care less whatever technology Google or Facebook are using to deliver their application.

    The only people who should really care about cloud computing and concepts like that are the ones implementing and delivering such applications.

    Imagine that Facebook would be a piece of software that you install on your Windows PC. Then Facebook will send you a CD with the network updates, friends updates, messages, etc. If you want to update your profile, write messages or upload pictures you burn them on a CD and Fedex it back to Facebook. Can you even imagine all this? Of course not. That’s why we have invented the WWW and all the web applications. So Facebook has to deal with milions of users wanting to use the application at the very same time.

    Because of such a huge load they decided to use a number of servers linked in a way that allows the application to scale, load balance, etc. If one of the thousands of servers fails, the applications as a whole is not affected or it’s insignificantly affected.

    Hence the term “cloud computing”. It’s nothing more than a combination of hardware and software which allows an application to scale out. The opposite of that is scaling up. In this case only one or a few servers are used instead of tens or hundreds or thousands. An example of scaling up is the Plenty Of Fish site.

    Both scaling up or scaling out have their pros and cons.  Deciding which architecture to use when you have to implement an application that’s required to serve millions of users simultaneously – that it’s a science.

    So coming back to the question – is cloud computing good for BI? Well – is it? As a user you don’t really care what’s running behind the scenes.

    As a service provider – are you offering an application that’s based on cloud computing? Do you actually need to use cloud computing? If yes, then you will probably want to base the associated BI solution on cloud computing as well. Or if the application BI is only marginally used by your users you may want to think twice before deploying BI on a cloud. Are you or some other large scale online application provider? If yes, then you are already hosting the data for your customers and most likely have already figured out the security piece.

    • Stefan said: “Hence the term “cloud computing”. It’s nothing more than a combination of hardware and software which allows an application to scale out”

      I thought cloud computing is more than a combination of hardware and software. Cloud computing is more like an utility. Here is what I mean by that:
        When I buy a TV, I don’t worry about generating electricity to power it. All I do is use an existing power outlet to connect my TV. Similarly whenever someone comes up with an idea to develop a software product, he/she doesn’t need to worry about building infrastructure. All he/she needs to do is to call up (Cloud Computing is not matured yet like electricity so there is no wall outlet yet for Cloud Computing!) a company offering Cloud Computing (Example Amazon)and sign up for a service providing h/w and s/w to develop the product.

      I don’t believe gmail or facebook use Cloud Computing. My understanding is that they have their own data centers. When someone maintains their own data centers, I believe they are not using Cloud Computing.

      Today I don’t believe it is economical to use Cloud Computing for very large applications.

      Cost/Benefit analysis should drive whether or not deploy BI on cloud or on own servers.