Photo Credit: Daquella manera
“Fake clouds” are conventional hosting services trying to piggyback on the popularity of cloud servers. They add the word “cloud” to their name, but offer nothing substantially different from conventional on-site hosting.
Many fake clouds actually use ERP systems designed to run on-premise, and entrust the actual hosting to over to a local value-added reseller. This is akin to simply outsourcing on-site hosting to a third party, and establishing a remote, dedicated or virtual server. This model has striking similarity to the application service provider (ASP) model of the past, which ended in a failure.
The pitfalls of such a set-up are
• Higher costs, as the service will not be scalable and the client will be forced to overbuy or overprovision capacity
• Costly, unstable integration and customisation
• Downtime, compounded by inadequate security and support
• Delayed product upgrades, as the vendor has to upgrade each customer one by one
In fact, such a set up is even worse than on-site hosting, as all the disadvantages remain, and there is the added worry about financial viability or sustainability of hosting firm.
Prevalence of Fake Clouds
A survey by CIO released by ElasticHosts, a genuine cloud-hosting provider, reveals that 83% of companies had to cut through marketing hype to identify genuine cloud offerings from conventional hosting services disguised as ‘cloud’ hosting providers.
• 67% of respondents had been offered fixed-term ‘cloud’ services
• 40% of the respondents had been offered services that were not elastic or scalable
• 32% of the respondents experienced services that were not self-service.
On average, businesses use only about 49% of their on-premise server capacity, at any given time. Migrating to genuine clouds allows businesses to do away with the energy and resource cost of maintaining such unutilised server capacity, while still ensuring that they can increase their server capacity whenever required. However, the prevalence of fake clouds mean that most of the companies remain locked into fixed contracts, and continue to pay for what they do not use.
How to Identify Fake Clouds
Genuine cloud hosting is on-demand, rapidly scalable and elastic, pay-as-you-go services. Elastichosts.com, for instance, offers the flexibility to purchase the exact capacity required by hourly or monthly subscription. Fake clouds do not offer such flexibility, and rather impose extra costs for the “privilege” of being hosted on the cloud.
Genuine cloud servers guarantee 100% uptime, which fake clouds do not offer.
Genuine cloud hosting providers have multiple servers spread over various geographical zones in their own multi-tenant cloud environments. Elastichosts.com, for instance, has servers in UK, USA, Netherlands, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia, ensuring fast direct network links and ensuring compliance of requirements that mandate data storage within local jurisdiction. Fake clouds are invariably limited to a single data centre.
The multiple servers of genuine cloud hosting services offer multiple levels of data redundancy. Elastichosts.com’s servers spread across five independent zones, and a client purchasing capacity on two or more servers ensures ultimate redundancy. Fake clouds do not offer such multi-level redundancy.
The multi-tenacity offered by genuine cloud providers, for instance, ensures that customers access the same solution from the same cloud, providing customers with on-going and real-time access to latest product upgrades. Fake data canters, do not provide real time updates as they have to manually update servers one-by-one.
True cloud vendors provide customisation platform that allows customisation of client application. Such customisation continues to work even when the vendor launches a new product enhancement. Updates through fake clouds are a painful experience, usually requiring reinstallation.
Genuine cloud vendors design solutions from the ground up, specifically for the cloud, rather than use ERP or other solutions not designed for the cloud in the first place. Such software cannot leverage the full benefits of the cloud even when hosted on a genuine cloud.
The prevalence of fake cloud harms the industry as a whole, providing misconceptions about the very concept of cloud computing and distortions on the costing and benefits of the model.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Graham is a freelance tech writer who specialises in the latest web server news and guides.