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Raining On Cloud Bursting's Parade

Cloud bursting--the ability to dynamically move processing temporarily to a cloud provider in response to some excess demand--sounds like such a great idea. If successful, you can continue to handle the excess burst without having to acquire new hardware, software and licenses. Equally important--you can do it right now. You look like a hero. But before you start popping champagne corks and taking a celebratory lap, you will likely have some significant hurdles to get over. So much so that cloud bursting isn't likely for most of you in the foreseeable future.

I am not saying that cloud bursting can't be done today or that there aren't useful cases. Neal Sample of eBay presented his company's rationale on cloud bursting and why eBay is seriously examining cloud bursting. The short, 11-minute video is worth the watching. As an aside, companies like eBay that are willing to share the details of their costs and business models should be applauded. It's good for everyone.

Of course, how many of you are running a top 50 website today? So while eBay's example is extremely interesting and enlightening, and Sample's explanation of eBay's thought processes are instructive, eBay's IT needs aren't generally applicable to the rest of the enterprises out there. Christofer Hoff makes that point quite well in Incomplete Thought: Cloudbursting Your Bubble – I call Bull. (By the way, there is nothing new written about cloud computing that Hoff hasn't already written. He is the Nostradamus of cloud computing.) As Hoff points out, eBay is investing heavily in cloud technologies and is architecting its systems, which are subject to huge variations in demand, for the cloud. That is the single biggest difference between a company that has the resources and talent to tackle a big initiative and the rest of us.

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