One Size Doesnt Fit All
"You don't have to have a one-size-fits-all cloud," Krishnan said. "A
company can have a cloud for archival [data] and another one for video
streaming, for example. Each of those two services have very different
characteristics, as far as the individual nodes are concerned."
These small clouds are not simply a mashup of a bunch of amalgamated in-house and outside Web services. "You should be able to scale out your own cloud by simply adding more nodes of commodity servers as you need them," Krishnan said.
Smaller providers can offer more hands-on service and more differentiated services, using smaller cloud networks. The same can happen for a company that builds its own cloud. If you're going to do something along the scale of Google Apps or Salesforce.com, for example, those have R&D aspects that are enormous.
But if you have a much smaller service provider, say a regional one, or build one in your own data center, you can get the same value and possibly even better service. Certainly you must be careful who to pick if the decision is made to go outside.
What about the trust factor here? After all, we're talking about giving the family jewels to strangers to keep for us.
"Nothing is as secure as having all your data within the firewall," Krishnan said. "But now, the [storage] hardware is becoming very affordable; you can start a cloud with 4TB [of capacity]. You don't even need to start with a petabyte.
"If you're looking at a [smaller] service provider, yes, it [trust] is a challenge. You can encrypt the data and whatever, but ultimately you are going to trade off some level of performance and latency for that [peace of mind]. If you really have reservations about putting your data out there [especially for financial companies], then you should look at building your own cloud."