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What is the difference between cloud, on-premise and hosted? Someone clever explained the difference to me this way:

Cloud is like your local municipal water supply. When you're thirsty, you turn on the faucet and drink. At the end of the month they send you a bill and you pay it. You don't care how the water was collected, where it is stored, or which pipes it traverses to get to you. You don't know anything about the size of storage reservoir, or the purification system. You just know that when you need water, you turn on the tap and drink.

So what does an on-premise solution look like? Well, you know you're going to need water. So you try to estimate how much water you'll need for the next year. Will it be a hot summer? Will there be shortages? You somehow estimate all this. Then you spend the money upfront, and build a tank in your backyard to hold all this water. You buy the water for the rest of the year and store it in the tank. What happens if the summer is extra hot and people drink a lot? You'll run out of water and you'll need to ask for emergency funds to buy a bigger tank. Or worse, tell your thirsty customers they're out of luck.


A hosted solution is nearly the same as the on-premise, except you pay someone else to take care of your water tank. While they may maintain your tank, you're still the one who has to do the estimating and sizing. And worst of all, you need to commit up-front to this. This is the biggest difference from a true, scalable cloud.


That is not to say that public cloud is the only way to go. For example, hosted HPC makes sense if your needs are completely fixed and you know upfront what those are. It also make sense if you have a single location that happens to be close to the hosted HPC provider's datacenter and you have fiber connection to them. Hosted HPC lets you treat your servers as pets instead of cattle. You can visit them and see them. That's important to some.


These days there's a lot of spin around what is actually cloud HPC, and what is really hosted HPC.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you distinguish:

  1. Does my provider have data centers around the world? Are they everywhere I need to be?
  2. What am I committing to upfront?
  3. Will my jobs ever have to wait in a queue? 
  4. How are resources shared between customers?
  5. What complementary services are available? Are there AI and ML services? What about IoT?

If you'd like to learn more about how Cloud HPC can help you - give UberCloud a call.




Topics: azure cloud hpc

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Thomas Francis

Posted by: Thomas Francis

Thomas has broad industry experience in enterprise software, cloud and IT operations. His most recent role was as Director of Software and Cloud Strategy at Dell. While at Dell he launched multiple cloud businesses including Dell Cloud Business Applications and Dell Cloud Marketplace. Previously, Thomas has held leadership roles in various technology companies including SanDisk and Landmark Graphics, a maker of 3D seismic interpretation software. Thomas has a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering from UT Arlington and an MBA from UC Berkeley and is based in Silicon Valley.
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