I recently had an opportunity to attend a Symantec Conference (Enterprise 2011). I was mostly attracted by the 45 minute session on Cloud Computing – which was towards the end of the half day conference.
I waited with eager anticipation as I was ignorant of any of Symantec Cloud offerings. Being an ex Veritas File System developer with a long association at Symantec I was naturally curious.
As the hour approached, the presenter went on to unveil a set of Symantec Products offered via SaaS model (mostly concerning with Data Security/Availability – full list here http://www.symantec.com/business/theme.jsp?themeid=symantec-cloud).
I was disappointed, to say the least, at this attempt to pass off SaaS as cloud computing. I was hoping to learn of some cool new storage/compute virtualization story (Symantec and Vware are buddies) tied together with utility computing and security thrown in the mix. Alas, no such thing.
Something did not add up in my own mind after that presentation. I was not sure why I should be disappointed that “SaaS is not the same as Cloud Computing” (A similar debate is going on concerning Apple’s iCloud).
SaaS – Cloud Computing? It is and It isn’t.
It is difficult to find a precise and widely accepted definition of what cloud computing is and what it isn’t. However, there are some Cloud Computing Guarantees (well, promises) that are generally well accepted. Some of which are -
- Availability – promises on service availability (five 9 availability for e.g.)
- Scalability - promises on how well the service scales (horizontally and vertically)
- Utility Computing Based Billing – pay as you go
It is interesting to note that Symantec promises 100% service availability and a guaranteed latency (from which you can draw inferences about the scalability). I suppose from a service consumer’s point of view this is all that matters.