OK, so we are living in a real time world, and we are about to feel this even more. With cloud computing, cloud storage, and cloud networking, the dependency on the network is spiking. This means that a user may be using a cloud based service that may shift from one data center to another transparently to the user. This move of resources must happen under the very strict requirements of real time performance. For example, lets say there is a big news story and everyone is wanting to watch the video reports. Like today, load balancing can be done across multiple servers in the cloud, transparently to the end users. But then lets throw in an Amazon like event where there is an outage on a server platform. Sure, the cloud technologies will “fly” this resource to another server platform, but the question is which one? If the resources are flown to a server with improper network performance to maintain the real time performance, user experience will suffer.
This means that the designers of cloud solutions (compute, storage, and network) must balance all their solutions to deliver performance within the time constraints of the applications. I have personally read a ton of data on offerings and almost none will make performance guarantees, nor will they discuss these issues. Of the several experts I have had candid discussions with, they all say the same thing: it is too early in the technology to address these issues. This may be the case in their view, but I could not disagree more. These issues should be dealt with from the start. Why would anyone adopt a cloud solution that provides poor performance to the applications? The designers of any cloud sub-system must deal with this very difficult issue up front. I need the tools to design solutions with cloud that include management so that I know – in real time – exactly how applications are performing. I also need tools that allow me to define the parameters of performance for every application I support so that these “personalities” of my applications can be tied directly to the cloud infrastructure reactivity when something fails or moves. Think of these as ecosystems surrounding applications that allow the application to perform within network definable parameters. Unlike today’s high bandwidth network, bandwidth may not be the only component to worry about.
These ecosystems begin to look more and more like living organisms that are under constantly changing environmental conditions, yet must maintain a certain quality of condition for the application itself. The main point here is that everyone must push the equipment vendors and the service providers to engage the issue of real time in cloud solutions. Your thoughts and comments are welcomed.