If used smartly, cloud computing –a process by which computing tasks can be carried out on third party internet servers on a payment for use of IT infrastructure basis –can be very cost-effective, speakers at a seminar on “Demystifying Cloud Computing” organised here on Friday by the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) said.

The increasingly popular technology that has been redefining IT infrastructure as a service had created a level-playing field for small and medium enterprises by offering them access to the kind of IT infrastructure hitherto available only to the big enterprises. However those opting for cloud computing solutions must be aware of the exact nature of their agreements with the service providers.

“It works best if you know exactly the amount of processes you are planning to run and the duration, as these would determine the extent of infrastructure you need,” Jayabalan Subramanian of Net Magic Solutions, one of the speakers at the seminar said.

He added that the most striking example for this sort of smart use of cloud computing was New York Times’ use of Amazon’s cloud computing services to digitise its archive of 11 million articles. The process took less than 24 hours by harnessing Amazon’s stacks of cloud computing servers. It was both a cost and a time effective solution.

Emerging field

While cloud computing with its ‘pay-as-you-go’ model appealed in cases of such specific and temporary tasks, it is still some time away from becoming a solution for running entire enterprises, E.P.Subhash, head, Competency Development Springboard, said.

There are also concerns of standards or specifically the lack of them in cloud computing environments. The lack of specific standards could mean difficulty in moving processes from one cloud computing stack to another, should the client feel so. This could lead to a potential vendor-locking scenario.

S.Srinivasan, member, IT and Communications panel, FICCI said apprehensions on security of data while using the ‘cloud’ were fast diminishing and the industry had by and large embraced the technology.

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