Cloud computing is a disruptive technology. A game-changer.
Implementing and Developing Cloud Computing Applications by David E. Y. Sarna is for Information Technology Managers, Systems Managers and enterprise executives who need to plan, implement, deploy and manage cloud computing applications.
Managers are rightly concerned about the reliability, availability, scalability, security, privacy and cost of deploying in the cloud. Sarna addresses these issues.
When thinking about cloud compuitng, we need to recognize that it was not created ex nihilo (out of nothing). Rather, cloud computing evolved and developed creatio ex materia(creation out of pre-existent matter); it evolved from Chaos or at least evolved chaotically. It's rapidly maturing, but still very much an adolescent.
Geng Yin - Year of the Tiger
Cloud concepts and virtualization had their genesis in the 1960s and cloud computing was at least seven years old in 2010. However, the stars did not become properly aligned in a way that enabled cloud computing to really take off before 2010, the "Year of the Cloud" (in the Chinese calendar, 2010 is formally
Geng Yin, the Year of the Tiger, which is also apt).
But aligned they are, and cloud computing is the hottest thing going in the IT community.
That's great and all, but can a real enterprise get there?
There are obstacles to successful deployment. It's not just the cloud that has a past. Enterprises too have legacy applications to deal with (many also dating back scores of years), and also institutionalized legacy thinking that requires re-examination in an era of pervasive Internet, open source computing, and private, public, and hybrid clouds.
For cloud computing to succeed in the enterprise, we need to keep in mind the words of Shakespeare in the famous bit of fatherly advice given by Polonius to Laertes shortly before Laertes leaves for France: "This above all: to thine ownself be true." To succeed, you need to know your own organization, its security
requirements, criticality, ethos, politics, institutional memory, and willingness to change.
Bus to Nirvanna
Be mindful that the bus headed to cloud computing nirvana did not begin loading up passengers at its last stop. You may have gotten on at one of the first stops (if you are an old geezer like me) or you may have jumped on closer to the terminus.
Elijah's Fiery Chariot
The fact is that cloud computing did not suddenly just descend from heaven like the prophet Elijah's fiery chariot (1 Kings 19:19-21; 2 Kings 2:1-18). It evolved from concepts dating back half a century, and was made possible by continuing advances in a host of technologies, including transistors, communications, and
This is not a trivial point. Successfully taking advantage of the cloud requires an understanding of what is similar, what is radically different, and what has evolved. For that reason, we begin with basic concepts and some history.
If I had my druthers, (no surprise here), I'd have you start reading my book with Chapter 1 and read straight through to Chapter 15 (No surprise that). I recognize, however, that reading this book from cover to cover may not be for you, so here's a roadmap.
The Nuts and Bolts of It
I begin with the history and overview provided in chapters 1 - 3. You may be tempted to ignore those and "just dive in" to the nuts and bolts of it, beginning in Chapter 4. Fair warning, however: those who do so without having previously acquired the requisite perspective elsewhere run multiple risks:
- Missing the forest because of the trees
- Ignoring the lessons of history, and thus being condemned to repeat them
- Forgetting Corinne Bailey Rae's oh so true lyrics:
Maybe sometimes, we've got it wrong, but it's alright
The more things seem to change, the more they stay the same
Oh, don't you hesitate.
As support for those with specific concerns and limited time, here are some navigational aids:
There are some really valid issues related to how to get to the cloud, and most especially, how to avoid being locked in to a single vendor. There are definitely some steps you can (and should) take to avoid lock-in. But you are not alone in this concern, and real progress is being made in standardization and in speeding up and facilitating interclouding. See Chapter 4, Moving Into and Around the Clouds and Efforts at Standardization.
The siren call of the cloud is "pay as you go." True enough, you avoid capital costs and replace them with operating expenses. But how much cloud do you need? Can you scale up and down quickly? How do you manage response times? What need you do to manage and to measure? What is it all going to cost you? Those focused on cloud economics can jump right in to Chapter 5, Cloud Economics and Capacity Management where these topics are addressed.
Readers primarily concerned about issues of reliability, availability, scalability, security and privacy can start with Chapter 8, Securing the Cloud - Reliability, Availability and Security and move on from there.
Those who would appreciate seeing a concrete example first before undertaking their journey into the cloud can read Chapter 6, Demystifiying the Cloud: A Case Study Using Amazon's Cloud Services (AWS).
Trying to choose from among the many vendor offerings - the Cloud is in the "gold rush" phase and many are prospecting among the unwary - seems like a daunting task. Readers who are vendor-hunting should read chapters 7 and 10 - 13 and also Support and Reference Materials in Chapter 15.
For a real-life case study, please see Chapter 14 aboutPractice Fusion, a cloud-based service many of us wish our medical practitioners subscribed to.
My fond hope is that after you have finished reading this book, you will have a good understanding of what cloud computing is, why it's useful, what are the issues to navigate and what are known pitfalls to avoid in order to ensure a successful and economical deployment. You will understand the range of solutions available, how to choose what's best for your organization, and what standards are developing to ensure fast and secure interclouding, which is the wave of the future.
Like Whitewater Rafting
Clouding is like whitewater rafting. There are six recognized grades of river difficulty, starting with Grade 1: Very small rough areas, might require slight maneuvering, progressing to grade 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, might require some maneuvering.(Skill Level: basic paddling skill), and ultimately on to
Grade 5, whitewater, large waves, large volume, possibility of large rocks and hazards, possibility of a large drop, requires precise maneuvering (skill level: advanced whitewater experience). There are also Grade 6 rapids, considered to be so dangerous as to be effectively unnavigable on a reliably safe basis. Rafters can
expect to encounter substantial whitewater, huge waves, huge rocks and hazards, and/or substantial drops that will impart severe impacts beyond the structural capacities and impact ratings of almost all rafting equipment. Traversing a Grade 6 rapid has a dramatically increased likelihood of ending in serious injury or
death compared to lesser classes. (Skill Level: Successful completion of a Grade 6 rapid without serious injury or death is widely considered to be a matter of great luck or extreme skill).
I wish you a bon voyage as you embark on your own exciting, thrilling and once-in-a-lifetime journey.
And please, stay away from the Grade 6 rapids.