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The Barriers of Cloud Computing

01.30.2014
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While there are many benefits to shifting your business operations to the cloud, two of the biggest barriers are security and performance concerns. Before we discuss these barriers, let’s look at the inner workings of the cloud.

Demystifying the Cloud
Presented By Telx Data Centers

To be able to successfully maintain the cloud, servers run 24/7 and companies go to great lengths to keep servers functioning smoothly with fiber optic networks running at speeds 200,000 times faster than a typical home Internet connection. Those 900,000 servers that Google runs? They use 260,000,000 watts of energy, which is equivalent to 0.01% of the global energy used to power 200,000 homes. And this amount of energy dedicated to data centers grows each year, from 10 gigawatts in 2007 to over 40 last year.

Additionally, with so much necessary energy, these computers need to remain cool in temperature at around 72 degrees and a humidity level of 45%. As the infographic lays out, an intricate system is necessary to maintain the computers: AC units pumping cold air constantly, hundreds of fans, water-cooling systems, and thick plastic barriers to keep cold air in – and hot air out.

Additionally, this information needs to be protected at all costs. Massive generators are in place in case of power outage, and biometric security is manned 24/7 to ensure the premises are safe.

However, these risks are not just physical. As there are more users and a larger infrastructure, virtual threats can also target the cloud. A recent Arbor Networks survey showed that 77% of data center administration experienced more advanced, application-layer attacks. DDoS attacks have increased by 1000% over the past ten years. Cloud services also have a history of hacking, with passwords, e-mails, and usernames being accessed. However, over time, companies are working to create better and more secure cloud environments.

As we mentioned, generators are in place in case of power outages. However, that does not mean that your information is accessible at all times, with outages sometimes taking over 24 hours for full restoration. While these setbacks are not consistent, 46% of CIOs have concerns with security of proprietary data and applications and 32% have concerned with the cloud’s performance.

These numbers are not mean to discourage cloud computing; however, every system has its benefits and setbacks. What is key to a company’s consideration of shifting to cloud computing is analyzing its benefits and costs. Instead of shifting all services to the cloud, first start with operations that don’t pose risk to your organization. Additionally, the reason such a high number of personal cloud users shift their business organizations is because familiarity is key to a successful cloud adoption. The “personal cloud” is the heart to the technology, allowing each user access to all his or her own personal files, data, and resources in one place.

A key understanding of operations, software licensing, and strategy is essential when considering shifting your business operations to the cloud. In our third post, we will further discuss the best practices for cloud computing and its potential savings.

Published at DZone with permission of Paul Andrews, author and DZone MVB.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)