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Cloud Computing Strategy: It’s a Hotel, Not an Apartment

If we were to compare cloud computing to a residence, it wouldn’t be an apartment, says Andrew Hillier, CTO of CiRBA. In a apartment you can have family meetings in the living room or drum practice on the balcony, living there indefinitely. But as Hillier points out in a ZDNet article, it’s more accurate to think of cloud computing as a hotel: “cloud applications move in, stay a while and then leave.”

Hillier makes the point that many business execs see cloud computing as a storage center for one kind of data over an extended period of time. The tools those business uses are dependent upon a large workload over a large time, which wastes the utility of cloud computing. Hillier suggests “that hotels are a better thought model for how today’s data centers are being used. Virtual workloads come in, stay a while and then leave. If resources aren’t reclaimed and used to support a different virtual workload, data center efficiency and overall data center performance suffer. Costs for systems, storage, and software would all be higher than really necessary.”

In other words, fitting system capacity by utilizing only available space is a better option than unnecessarily increasing system capacity in order to handle larger, longer workloads. The work gets done, then finishes and leaves in time for the next workload to come through and occupy the same cloud space.

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      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Alex,

      this is an interesting blog and thought provoking analogy.

      I would suggest caution when associating cloud computing with renting a room at a hotel as a lever for explaining the core principles and benefits of moving to the cloud for an enterprise.

      Renting a room at a hotel (replace with cloud), for me certainly, brings thoughts of, (often shockingly) high costs, and the strategy of using unecessary opulence and exuberance (replace with services) to distract the customer from the size of the bill. And leaves me wanting to stay for as short a period as possible and get back to my home (replace with data center).

      Imagine the CTO saying to the CFO and CEO, this managed cloud service is excellent, it's just like a hotel !

      Hopefully, the CFO and CEO won't share my thoughts associations of hotels (-:

      Maybe the [managed] apartment analogy would be better.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Michael Appleby
      Michael Appleby

      Residence Inn, or perhaps Executive Apartments (Sao Paulo), versus Courtyard (to put it in terms of Marriott properties)?

      Probably stretching the analogy too far.  Renting an apartment versus buying the house is probably a closer approximation.

      Regards, Mike

      SAP Rapid Innovation Group - RIG