Tom Nolle/CIMI Corp.
27 Apr 2011
“E Pluribus Unum,” which translates to “from many, one,” is a phrase written on US coins. For service providers planning cloud computing services, the motto and challenge is exactly the opposite: How can they produce many services out of one infrastructure, or “e Unum Pluribus”?
Most service providers have neither the option nor the desire to pick out a single model of cloud service and focus investment on it alone. Leveraging their infrastructure and operations to produce superior economies of scale is critical, and from a sales perspective, it will be easier to exploit the cloud quickly when enabling multiple cloud services rather than having only one.
Technically, cloud computing – cloud computing primer is a resource-pool strategy. A set of servers and storage devices located in one or more data centers form a pool of resources that are allocated to service customers on an as-needed basis.
The larger the resource pool, the greater the efficiency and lower the unit cost of computing and storage. A lower cost base then permits network operators to offer computing and Storage as a Service at prices compelling to the buyer and at margins profitable to the seller.
The value of generality at the cloud service level is clear: More services equal more sales, which equal more resource-pool efficiency and higher profits. But the question is how to achieve the multiservice goal with a practical set of cloud computing tools.
The strongest starting point to answer the question of how to achieve multiple cloud services using one set of cloud computing tools is to consider how the cloud computing service in question—Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Software as a Service (SaaS)—would appear to a buyer and what the cloud resource interface needs to resemble.
The goal of a universal infrastructure would be to offer all of those service appearances and interfaces at comparable efficiency and with full management capability. Where the requirements compromise the ability to use one infrastructure, operators need to weigh the cost and benefits of that offering. Here’s a closer look at the requirements of the three cloud services.