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Cloud Computing: Understanding Infrastructure

A solid technology infrastructure ensures a strong base for applications

Too many technology leaders and corporate executives like to jump on the bandwagon and use the latest phrases they have read in some business magazine to define their next endeavor in saving or expanding their enterprise.

Without understanding anything beyond the key phrase or buzzword, they start to talk about how they are going to implement a new "strategic initiative," like Cloud Computing, as their next big step in applying technology to their business without even understanding the critical underpinnings of the technology or the pros and cons of that investment.

  • What is inside the Cloud?
  • What supports the Cloud? The Hardware? Software? Skilled Personnel?
  • What key elements do you have to worry about if you are looking at Cloud Computing as a solution for your enterprise?
  • How do you maintain the infrastructure that supports the Cloud?

These questions seem to get passed over or not even brought up as the main goal is to appear as if they are up with the latest buzzwords and doing something to be competitive. When this happens, it's a sure bet that things will go wrong.

Before Jumping on the Bandwagon, Know What's Being Played
Many people can draw the cloud on a board and say, "Here is where all of our applications crank out customer data and this is what we need to manage our business." Few can draw the elements and network services that make up the cloud and point to the reasons for their importance.

Having a good technology infrastructure is key to building solid applications for any business. The infrastructure is the "platform for commerce" that supports the Cloud and it needs to be understood and well maintained in order for it to support the applications that support the enterprise.

Some organizations don't spend enough money on building a solid platform and can't understand the need for redundancy and reliability when they create applications that are mission-critical. These are the organizations doomed for failure.

Many who have designed systems have not designed mission-critical systems and their lack of understanding is clearly evident when their platforms fail and their applications go down. This usually happens at the worst time.

Avoiding Infrastructure Failure
The best way to avoid infrastructure failure is to understand its importance to the support of any Cloud Computing application. If you understand its importance upfront, chances are you won't skimp on its design, implementation and ongoing maintenance throughout your enterprise.

•   •   •

Copyright 2012 - James Carlini

More Stories By James Carlini

James Carlini, MBA, a certified Infrastructure Consultant, keynote speaker and former award-winning Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University, has advised on mission-critical networks. Clients include the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, GLOBEX, and City of Chicago’s 911 Center. An expert witness in civil and federal courts on network infrastructure, he has worked with AT&T, Sprint and others.

Follow daily Carlini-isms at www.twitter.com/JAMESCARLINI

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