In the old days…
You would have a closet in your startup company with a rack of computers. Provisioning involved:
Along came some industrious folks who realized power and data to your physical location wasn’t reliable. So datacenters sprang up. With data centers, most of the above steps didn’t change except between steps 3 & 4 you would send your engineers out to the datacenter location. Trips back and forth ate up time and energy.
Then along came managed hosting. Managed hosting saved companies a lot of headache, wasted man hours, and other resources. They allowed your company to do more of what it does well, run the business, and less on managing hardware and infrastructure. Provisioning now became:
Obviously this new state of affairs improved infrastructure provisioning dramatically. It simplified the process and sped it up as well. What’s more a managed hosting provider could keep spare parts and standard components on hand in much greater volume than a small firm. That’s a big plus. This evolution continued because it was a win-win for everyone. The only downside was when engineers made mistakes, and finger pointing began. But despite all of that, a managed hosting provider which does only that, can do it better, and more reliably than you can yourself.
So where are we in present day? We are all either doing, or looking out cloud provisioning of infrastructure. What’s cloud provisioning? It is a complete paradigm shift, but along the same trajectory as what we’ve described above. Now you removed all the waiting. No waiting for sales team, or the ordering process. That’s automatic. No waiting for engineers to setup the servers, they’re already setup. They are allocated by your software and scripts. Even the setup and configuration of software components, Operating System and services to run on that server – all automatic.
This is such a dramatic shift, that we are still feeling the affects of it. Traditional operations teams have little experience with this arrangement, and perhaps little trust in virtual servers. Business units are also not used to handing the trigger to infrastructure spending over to ops teams or to scripts and software.
However the huge economic pressures continue to push firms to this new model, as well as new operational flexibility. Gartner predicts this trend will only continue. The advantages of cloud infrastructure provisioning include: