Why Cloud 1.0 Fell Short: Making The Transition To Cloud 2.0

Many business professionals find themselves responsible for both generating demand and fulfilling it, suddenly having to ensure their site doesn’t crash during changes in demand flow. Unfortunately, Cloud 1.0 – managed hosting, dedicated hosting, co-located hosting and in-house hosting – was not designed to address this issue.

It also failed to help businesses address the risks of unpredictable costs resulting from greater than expected demand. As the levers of demand generation became harder to control on today’s internet, businesses needed solutions to help them prepare and respond to varying traffic volumes in an effective and profitable manner.

Business users have found improving cloud performance difficult. Their Cloud 1.0 service providers maintain a one-size-fits-all cloud infrastructure that offers little visibility into the resources that customers are using and how they are using them. Without transparency, businesses must guess at architectural changes when targeting areas for application performance improvements.

Often, the process of fine-tuning cloud performance can take months. Yet, companies that leverage the web for revenue and lead generation simply cannot afford to wait months while they optimise their cloud architecture. This lack of business flexibility and responsiveness inherent in Cloud 1.0 services causes many businesses to distrust the cloud.

The next generation of cloud – or Cloud 2.0 – is allowing businesses to address unexpected spikes in demand by more effectively managing corresponding traffic volumes. Businesses can leverage a cloud or hybrid cloud environment to run targeted applications or functions, and then decide for themselves how their solutions will scale in response to varying demand levels. Up-to-the-minute visibility also shows the effects that different levels of scaling have on the bottom line.

In this way, Cloud 2.0 puts control and flexibility back into the hands of businesses and enables them to realise significant budget and resource savings. In this new paradigm, both business and IT leaders can now focus their time and talent on revenue-generating projects. They become far more nimble than competitors who must waste excess time, money and talent using antiquated IT models.

Through Cloud 2.0, true competitive advantage comes from the IT infrastructure itself. With the ability to scale resources seamlessly and instantaneously, businesses can proactively pursue market opportunities rather than reacting to environmental and business conditions. This provides critical time-to-market advantage over competitors.

Cloud 2.0 fulfils the promise of cloud which Cloud 1.0 could not deliver for all but a select few business models. Despite the success of early Cloud 1.0 for a limited market, mainstream businesses with existing infrastructure or existing solutions simply could not use it.

For the most part, their back-end technologies were not written to run against a configured, inflexible, structured, and vast cloud infrastructure. Not wanting to entirely re-engineer their companies, businesses struggle to make their existing technologies interact with the cloud. For most, success occurs infrequently or for a limited number of applications.

When writing applications that need to scale to cloud’s potential, businesses need to have insight into the underlying technology architecture. Unfortunately, Cloud 1.0 abstracts this information and keeps it hidden from application developers.

As a result, they cannot easily write applications that scale well. Cloud 2.0 implements user-defined scaling, wherein users define traffic thresholds that they do not want to exceed. This helps businesses to both predict and minimize costs, especially for broad marketing campaigns.

Cloud 1.0 architectures do not decouple back-end services ― such as web servers and database servers ― from the front end. This exposes cloud customers to the many security threats that can penetrate the front end. At the same time, businesses cannot use their own security measures and must settle for what the cloud provider offers. Cloud 2.0 allows customers to maintain whatever security structure they see fit. This means they can use the same security tools that they have always used.

Operating blindly against Cloud 1.0’s back-end systems, developers must continuously re-work their application code to optimise performance and the end-user experience. This represents a significant and unforeseen cost to cloud, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses with limited IT staff. SMB developers do not control cloud resources and have little administrator-level insight into system configurations and the ways in which systems run.

Today’s new professional-grade cloud architectures offer businesses far greater control over their cloud-based services. That’s because professional-grade clouds provide transparency across the entire platform. As a result, business customers can interact with key back-end resources and set parameters as they see fit. This information availability underpins the major competitive advantage that professional-grade cloud offers over Cloud 1.0 architectures.

Greg Rusu is the General Manager of Zunicore, PEER 1 Hosting’s division focused on cloud computing. Greg’s career spans over 20 years, recently having worked with start-ups leveraging virtualisation and cloud technologies in Europe’s banking, finance and insurance sectors, as well as the end-user consumer and mobile phone data service markets. His experience extends to establishing software product lines for Dell, managing strategic partnerships with enterprise ISVs, and originating software products supporting AMD’s technology in the high-end x86 markets. Greg holds an MBA from Duke University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.