The cloud is a metaphor. Well, i recon you guessed that already, but what is the cloud really then? You can look at the the cloud in two different ways, in option one, you look at the cloud the same way as Larry Ellisson did as he ranted on the cloud during an interview
Let me elaborate here that Larry isn’t wrong from a technical point of view. We have always been using the cloud. Every server is either part of a private, hybrid or public cloud. The internet itself is a cloud from a technical point of view.
However, from a more commercial point of view the cloud is a new way of working. Not being dependant on specific hardware, not having to install updates, not having to have a bunch of storage in your home holding your data, not having to remember every account, not having to worry about a thing.
As i look at the cloud, i would describe it as Whatever you need, whenever you need it.
Now realistically the IT world is not there yet, we’ve covered a lot of ground and are covering more ground every day.
Just look at cloud services like dropbox, evernote, whatsapp, salesforce and many, many more. They are the software applications of today. Underneath are infrastructure services like Amazon EC2, Vmware vCloud and Apache Cloudstack, running hypervisors like those from Vmware vSphere, XCP, KVM, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenServer. Also with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop you can make everything from a single application that was never meant to be a cloud service to a complete workstation operating system available in the cloud by yourself. Public, hybrid and private, anything is possible.
Now one thing in my opinion is key to a successful cloud service, redundancy equals to always on. A cloud service provider should always strive to a zero downtime solution. Even if you are servicing only one customer, they are depending on your product to be available when they need it. That may be during regular working hours, but it could also mean in the middle of the night, during a national holiday or simply put, at any given moment. Making sure your cloud service is always available, might just be the difference between you and all the other companies that make similar products.
Now i really like the way Citrix approaches the cloud, they are looking at it from a users point of view. That means they don’t think, “i’ve got a lot of hardware in my datacenter, let’s make some applications that people can use and sell access to them”. They are thinking more in the lines of, “what can i create, to make life easier and more simple for everyone”. This includes all us It guys, but mostly it includes all us IT users. Just look at this video about the Citrix Vision of the cloud and tell me that you don’t want to be working in such a world.