The effort to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic puts cloud computing at center stage for many organizations. For some, the situation may be a live-fire stress test of resources that were being dabbled with or rolled out on a gradual basis. Gartner's Craig Lowery, vice president analyst, says the resilience of cloud is on display like never before. “In general, the move that we’ve made as an industry toward more cloud-based services with an emphasis on scalability, reliability, distribution across zones and regions -- that value proposition is really shining.”
Lowery says organizations now face a “what if” scenario made real that shows the worth of being able to scale up at a moment’s notice with the cloud. Organizations may be pressed to scale up, he says, to accommodate remote work or to run more workloads on the public cloud if data centers face staffing reductions.
The internet itself is being tested by the pandemic, Lowery says. “It was designed to continue to deliver service in very stressful situations,” he says. The initial driver behind the creation of internet may have been to maintain connectivity during nuclear war. “We’ve grown a lot since it was originally rolled out,” Lowery says. “It is being stressed because the internet is a network of networks.” Private owners of different networks might choose to not pass traffic, though he says there currently is good faith among those operators. “Everything has a breaking point and the internet does have bottlenecks,” Lowery says.
Some service degradation may be inevitable, he says, though it may have more to do with where the end user tries to access the cloud rather than the cloud itself. Companies such as Netflix with business models that rely heavily on bandwidth might make voluntary decisions to throttle their usage. “That’s a precautionary thing that is probably going to be helpful,” Lowery says. “I think people see it as a responsible thing to do.” The design of the internet should mitigate the possibility of the entire system grinding to a halt, he says. “It would have to be a major catastrophe with destruction of the infrastructure or people taken out to the point where automation cannot keep it running.”
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