The audiovisual industry is headed toward the Cloud as quickly as they know how. It’s significant that the government and some large corporate customers are beginning to mandate usage of the Cloud for service expansion. Their reasons are easy to understand: it seems like the perfect way to get applications working faster and on a larger scale, manageability and maintenance are easier, and it enables IT to more rapidly adjust their resources as demand fluctuates.
For example, streaming server manufacturer Ncast Corporation (www.ncast.com) now offers Cloud based servers with secure, enterprise level portals for content recording, streaming and delivery, with most assets residing on the Cloud.
BUT the National Institute of Standards and Technology has said that Cloud computing is not for everyone. Why?
The very idea of Cloud computing is tantalizing. Basic definition: it’s a marketing term for technologies that provide computation, software, data access, and services, which do not require the user to know or care where their applications and servers reside, or even the configuration of the cloud that delivers the services. You’re thinking: ”but Dave, why wouldn’t everyone jump on the Cloudwagon NOW”.
Not so fast, my little friend. Couple of reasons it might not work for everyone: because of the nature of Cloud computing, it will work best for applications that can be broken up into independent parts due to the networked nature of the process.
That’s a problem for many of the entities that are looking to transfer their existing large scale applications to a cloud environment, especially those applications programmed “in the large,” which refers to applications that that have been built using multiple modules programmed by many teams over time.
Similar to the need to re-write programs to take advantage of a multi-processor CPU, applications headed toward the Cloud may need to be rewritten to get the full benefit Cloud’s capacity.
There are other issues to deal with which are which are often out of the control of providers and users, including network latency, and balancing workloads among Cloud infrastuctures.
Finally, Cloud computing doesn’t always include interoperability between multiple cloud providers, and isn’t always in compliance with regulatory requirements such as FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act). Add information security, and data leakage between logically partitioned machines and you have a number of aspects that may slow your roll into the Cloud.
The Cloud is here to stay, and in many instances offers the least expensive way to upgrade your capabilities and reach. Infocomm in Vegas this year (http://infocomm.org/cps/rde/xchg/infocomm/hs.xsl/meetingsandexhibitions.htm) should be interesting when it comes to servers, videoconferencing, and digital signage that are migrating to the Cloud. See you all there!