My last post addressed the trend of cloud computing to deliver services fast, on an infrastructure that is scalable, in a way that you can pay for what you eat. In that post I poke around the edges of what may be some pain points as you scale that model.
It was reported in TechCrunch that Twitter is closing on a $100M private placement investment round today or tomorrow. In a way, Twitter may be the litmus test of what happens when your service delivery platform goes large and you were born in a cloud computing world.
No one I know would dispute that Cloud Computing gives you all those features and probably a few more. The real question at hand is, does this model scale into a large scale business. My technical friends are saying to themselves of course it does, "Amazon runs their own infrastructure on EC2. They aren't going to do something less for their EC2 customers". Maybe, but EC2 is their platform so they are running their service on their platform. That example doesn't count.
The question is, does using outsourced Cloud Computing scale into a large "business". What happens when your demand starts to become a sizeable portion of the suppliers' infrastructure (real or virtual). Can the business-needs be met technically and financially with this arrangement? Is performance and reliability something you can outsource, or is it key to your business success?
Of course the same questions could be asked about something like the Lamp Stack. Can we really trust a whole bunch of open source code, built on top of open source code, to run my business and my platform? Obviously the answer here is a resounding yes. Is Cloud Computing just another version of this same argument?
I think the ultimate answer comes down to the maturity of the solution, be it Lamp Stack or Cloud Computing. As real hosting businesses form around Cloud Computing, with real SLA's and business tools that give more control and upside then the potential downside I think Cloud Computing will become attractive to large entities. Not, sure we are there yet – but watching twitter will be a leading indicator I think.