I can safely say that every conversation I am having about how the cloud can be used today is a reminder that the hot topic is no longer about security and performance, it’s about how they should be using it to further their business objectives.
We started moving our clients to the cloud over 5 years ago. It started like a lot of others, building our own — Virtual Office Recovery Center — in our data center, we called it VORC because IT guys love acronyms. We built it to have spare virtual machines with the ability to restore client data to these virtual machines nightly. In the event of a disaster we could restore client functionality with a Front End Server, FES, like a Citrix or Terminal Server. This is also known as a ‘warm site’. While this was functional it was not automated and I knew we had to find something that was. So we began the process of building our first live cloud environment. We built our Business in a Box, BIAB as we called it, by clustering three VMware environments and hosting our client’s applications and data in our datacenter. This too had its issues, at the time Exchange was not multi-tenant and while scalable this solution would be very costly due to continuous hardware upgrades. That’s when we found a back-end provider who, at the time, was one of the few that had a true functional and scalable hosted cloud solution for Virtual Desktops and Servers, we were off and running.
After a few years of growing the business we began to notice a lot of slowness and degradation. What we had tried to avoid by not owning our own hardware, our provider fell into the same challenges we tried to avoid. As we evolve we learn and grow. Now we use utility computing. This is like consumption of IT resources as you need them rather than over purchasing resources to plan for future needs. We then coupled that with multiple front end technologies to deliver a fully scalable solution at a very affordable price.
Cloud 2.0, as we like to call it, is out and on the rise. More and more people are in the cloud, Storage services alone have over 350 Million users and it is projected that this number will climb well over 500 Million!
Below are some facts on data storage in the cloud, from Extreme Techs.
- Facebook, in its IPO filing, said it stores over 100 petabytes (PB) of media (photos and videos). It’s not unrealistic to say that Facebook probably has a total storage of capacity well beyond that, once you factor in backups and other data (status updates, likes, and so on), possibly in the 300PB range.
- Microsoft recently admitted that Hotmail stores over 100 petabytes, and that SkyDrive, with “17 million customers,” stores 10PB of data. Like Facebook, Microsoft’s total capacity, once we factor in the rest of Azure and its web properties, is probably well over 300 petabytes.
- Megaupload is relatively tiny in comparison, apparently storing just 25 petabytes.
- Amazon, rather than giving us a nice, easy number of petabytes, instead announces the total number of objects stored by its S3 cloud storage service. As of April 2012, Amazon S3 stored 905 billion objects. If we assume an average size of 100KB, that’s around 90 petabytes; if the average size is 1MB, that’s 900 petabytes — almost an exabyte!
- Dropbox, a year ago, stored “10+ petabytes” of data. It had 25 million users then, and 100 million users today, so all things being equal the company now stores around 40PB of data
As the cloud get’s bigger and more applications are accessible from anywhere, anytime over any device or connection we as a society will rely more on its power.
I am trying to stay ahead of the curve and Cloud 2.0 is it.