Thursday, July 12, 2012

Preservation as a Cloud Service

I'm not the only one commenting on the "affordable cloud storage" hype that Tesella seems to have swallowed whole as they announce Preservica, their "preservation as a service" competitor for DuraCloud. Via The Register, we find Nati Shalom of Gigaspaces making the fundamental point about cloud economics:
Many people think that cloud economics starts to pay dividends immediately when you move to an on-demand usage model, paying only for what you use. Cloud can actually be fairly expensive when hosting environments in use are not elastic. I was surprised to see how many startups and SaaS organizations still run their applications in the cloud just as they would in any static hosting environment. While the pay-per-use model has a lot of promise for cost-savings if our applications aren’t designed for elasticity the cost of running the application in the cloud may end up costing you more. Most of the mission-critical applications have not been designed for elasticity and on-demand usage.
The flaw in the concept of DuraSpace, Preservica and other preservation in the cloud ideas is that digital preservation is the canonical example of a mission-critical application not "designed for elasticity and on-demand usage". The business models of cloud service providers base pricing on the value to their customers of eliminating the over-provisioning needed to cope with peak demand. Digital preservation is a base-load application, it doesn't have peaks and troughs in demand that require over-provisioning.

Matt Asay makes the same point:
But the overall driver of cloud computing, at least for now, is business agility. The early adopters driving cloud computing don't need discounts, because cost isn't their primary motivation. Help them figure out how to do more, faster, and the cost equation of public versus private clouds becomes somewhat of a non-issue.
Again, does anyone think the primary need for digital preservation is agility?

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