May 2011

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From Both Sides Now
  Looking at Cloud Technology in BAS Applications
John Petze

John Petze, C.E.M.


I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, From up and down, and still somehow, It’s cloud illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all. From Joni Mitchell a Canadian musician, songwriter's song "Both Sides Now".

It’s probably worth starting with a definition – not mine but NIST’s:

Cloud Computing: A model for enabling on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort…. Computation, software, and storage services that do not require end-user knowledge of the physical location.

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When I think of cloud computing I think of… computing as a utility… on demand computing… a pay as you go model for computing resources…  and SaaS – software provided as a service, versus being installed on a computer on my desk or in my facility.

Computing resources and software applications delivered by the cloud are receiving a lot of attention, and for good reason. The cloud-based model provides a new and different approach for the delivery of software applications and offers a range of benefits including:

As we discuss the emergence of cloud-based solutions in the BAS industry, however, it is important that we take a lesson from the past and not fall victim to technology blindness. Like most new technologies, the cloud offers new ways to do things and new cost models that are very appealing for certain applications. Cloud computing is not a panacea for every challenge, every customer or every application, however.

It simply won’t be all or nothing when it comes to the use of the cloud model.  Web-based applications did not eliminate the need for fat client software, and no single standard protocol replaced all others. The situation with cloud computing and software delivery via a hosted SaaS model is similar.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Some of the issues that affect the applicability of the cloud model include:

So in our excitement to take advantage of the benefits of this new technology (of which there are many), I hope that we do not adopt a view that the only way to do things from now on is with cloud-based software. Rather, let's be sure to match the needs of the specific project to the software delivery approach that provides the best fit for the customer. Let's leave the “religion” behind this time. It’s clear that we have a great tool in cloud computing – but everything out there is not a nail.

Want to join the discussion on this topic? Please join us for a lively discussion in the “Buildings Data in the Cloud” Track on Thursday May 26 at Connectivity Week in Santa Clara CA. 



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