Disclosure: This post was sponsored by SAP, but the actual contents and opinions are the sole views of MakeUseOf.com.
High performance computing is one of those areas that people are skeptical of when it comes to migrating services to the cloud – performance and security are the biggest concerns, and understandably so.
Let’s look at 3 ways in which cloud computing is really evolving in the area of high performance computing though, and directly address those concerns here.
Dynamically Scalable Computing
Scalable computing is the remarkable ability to scale your services up and down as the need arises. Consider a typical web serving requirement on a dedicated server; upgrading is an arduous task that involves scheduling downtime, then sending in some engineers to physically perform the upgrade of additional memory or a CPU swap. This is impractical to do on a frequent basis, and if additional capabilities are required for just a short time, is incredibly costly. There’s also a finite physical limitation on the amount of upgrades that can be done this way; you could keep adding more servers, but again, this is impractical for short periods of time.
Dynamically scalable computing harnesses the power of virtualized computing instances in the cloud. These are dynamically scalable in the sense they can be upgraded as and only when required; and downscaled back again, instantly. This can be done without downtime; without scheduling engineering work; and programmatically. You can detect when you need more computing resources, and automatically increase the amount of computing power available. It’s a revolution, simply.
Cost is also a major factor here: to achieve the level of computing power capable with cloud virtualization in a local server environment would require a huge investment. By using virtualized cloud computing, not only can you achieve scalable services but you’re also effectively renting them; this represents massive cost savings and avoids computing power wastage.
For companies with a global presence, you can typically also choose the physical location of your computing instances, thereby ensuring the best access speeds to local teams.
Infinite Data Storage
Large volumes of data are the other major consideration, even more so when you factor in backups and redundant drives. Depending on the speed of access required, they are various cloud services that will give you infinite data storage at very affordable prices – far more cost effective than storing everything locally. If you simply need a large data archive and accessing the files isn’t urgent, the costs are even lower.
In addition, the task of backups is outsourced to the cloud provider: you don’t need to worry about storing these files in multiple physical locations. One less worry is always nice.
Most cloud computing services offer industry standard VPN capabilities with IPsec and SSL endpoints that ensure secure communication between your facilities and the cloud. Many have also implemented the ISO27001 standard that covers all levels of infrastructure, data centers and services. They have proprietary systems to mitigate DDoS hacks, and internal traffic sniffing is impossible between unrelated instances. For cloud service providers, security is at the forefront of every process; the same sadly cannot be said for most companies.
The simple fact of the matter is that cloud computing is nearly always more secure than setting up a local server. Why risk it?
Do you have any concerns about high performance cloud computing, or any stories to share? Let us know in the comments! How do you “MakeUseOf” of cloud computing?