Cloud computing “like ordering a pizza”

IT industry professionals, analysts and vendors all have their unique ideas when it comes to describing what cloud computing means, but according to one infrastructure leader it’s just like ordering a pizza.

Westpac bank’s head of enterprise infrastructure architecture, Eugene Zaid, said using a cloud service is a lot like ordering a pizza as the consumer is most concerned with the outcome and not the process.

“A friend said to me recently Cloud computing is like ordering a pizza — you choose the type and pay for it and sit back and wait for it to be delivered,” Zaid said.

“All you care about is if it’s the right topping and whether it arrives or not.”

Speaking at this year’s CeBIT conference in Sydney, Zaid said the processes that go into providing a Cloud service remain behind the scenes to most consumers, like pizza making.

“You don’t care how it’s cooked or if a Rolls Royce delivered it, as long as you get it,” he said.

“It’s the same with Cloud, you don’t care what happens behind the scenes. The service providers are cutting the dough and grating the cheese.”

Karen Holt, head of information services at the Australian National Maritime Museum agreed.

“I’m getting a bit over the word ‘Cloud’ as it’s another reinvention of the things we have been dealing for more than 20 years, but it is now viable,” he said. “It is like ordering a pizza.”

Holt took on the role about 18 months ago and inherited a “very ageing” infrastructure, some of which was more than 20 years old.

“We had lots of disparate data sources and information siloes everywhere that were jealously guarded,” she said.

Last August CIO profiled Holt’s work at the museum which centres around an aggressive Cloud strategy.

Holt said the migration from analogue to IP telephony has been more complicated than moving messaging to the Cloud, but it was “remarkably smooth”.

“In 12 months we will be using unified telephony and messaging hosted in Singapore,” she said.

Other outcomes include a successful trial of the Windows Azure development platform and its SQL Azure service is ready to go live.

“We got a complex website up in six weeks and the Azure CDN will help us a lot,” Holt said.

“I am able to do more with less — less people and less money and I don’t need to find people with a broad range of technical skills. And they don’t need to worry about exchange server upgrades. Even though we are doing a large upgrades we have saved on licensing and services costs.”

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