The cloud as data-center extension

By Sandra Gittlen, Computerworld |  Cloud Computing

The processes Woods refers to are those involving collecting, auditing and reviewing data and news for specific industries -- the information that SNL sells to clients, in other words.

That's not to say there haven't been some bumps on the road to the cloud. Woods says that while IT was brought in at the start of the decision-making, his process-improvement team missed the mark on making sure IT was fully informed. "We found that no matter how much we thought we were doing a good job communicating with IT and networking, over-communication is the order of the day," he says.

Building up trust in the cloud

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has a similar stick-to-it attitude with the cloud. With more than 100 terabytes spread across 10 different services, JPL's trust in the cloud built up over time.

Its first foray was in 2009, when reality sunk in that the 30-day Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission would last far longer than originally thought, and demand far more resources than the internal data center could handle. (MER is still sending data back to Earth.)

"All of our IT systems had filled up. We either needed to build new IT systems internally or move to the cloud," says Tom Soderstrom, CTO.

Soderstrom and his team of technicians and developers used Microsoft's then-nascent Azure platform to host its "Be a Martian" outreach program. Immediately, JPL saw the benefits of the elasticity of the cloud, which can spin up resources in line with user demand.

In fact, outreach has proven a fertile playground for JPL's cloud efforts, such as using Google Apps as the foundation for its "Postcard from Mars" program for schoolchildren. Soderstrom calls the platform ideal because it enables an outside-the-firewall partnership with developers at the University of California, San Diego.

External developers are simply authorized in Google -- by JPL's IT group -- to work on the project. "If we used the internal data center, we would have had to issue them accounts and machines, get them badged by JPL, and have them go into schools to install and manage the application code," Soderstrom says. "The cloud approach is less expensive and more effective."

JPL also taps Amazon Web Services for various projects, including its contest for EclipseCon, the annual meeting of the Eclipse open-source community. "All testing, coding and scoring is done in Amazon's cloud so our internal data centers don't have to take the hit," he says.


Originally published on Computerworld |  Click here to read the original story.
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