Cloudbursting and so much more

The fine folks at Amazon recently posted to their Web Services blog about the idea of ‘cloudbursting’.  I thought it was an interesting post and touches on one use case for Amazon Web Services – as an overflow system to scale up your processing power on demand, even though you typically run your own datacenter or host servers in a colocation facility.

The post also discusses the concept of a hybrid model of computing, where some computing is done in-house, and some in the cloud.  As they said in the post, when they talk to folks about the idea of cloud computing, people tend to settle for a ‘middle of the road’ solution:

A typical audience contains a nice mix of wild-eyed enthusiasts and more conservative skeptics. The enthusiasts are ready to jump in to cloud computing with both feet, and start to make plans to move corporate assets and processes to the cloud as soon as possible. The conservative folks can appreciate the benefits of cloud computing, but would prefer to take a more careful and measured approach. When the enthusiasts and the skeptics are part of the same organization, they argue back and forth and often come up with an interesting hybrid approach.

The details vary, but a pattern is starting to emerge. The conservative side advocates keeping core business processes inside of the firewall. The enthusiasts want to run on the cloud. They argue back and forth for a while, and eventually settle on a really nice hybrid solution. In a nutshell, they plan to run the steady state business processing on existing systems, and then use the cloud for periodic or overflow processing.

I would propose there is another powerful use case for the hybrid model – the outsourcing of specific IT processes into the cloud.

This has been done in the business software world through SaaS, and now because of cloud computing solutions, it can be done in the world of IT infrastructure.   For example, there are some companies that are starting to do interesting stuff in this hybrid model beyond simply providing overflow computational capacity.

  • Simply Continuous is addressing the painful problem of business continuity by allowing customers to replicate their Wintel-based datacenters into their fully managed cloud.
  • Similarly, Skytap allows customers to create virtual software testing environments and pay by the drink instead of buying hardware and software to support those testing efforts.
  • 3tera recently announced a partnership with Nirvanix where Nirvanix’s storage cloud would be integrated with 3tera’s cloud computing management software.

Would love to hear about other examples that are out there.


  1. Hi John,
    Thanks so much for including us in your list of examples. We really appreciate it and I look forward to reading more of your new blog!
    (Simply Continuous Employee)

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