LAN speeds are still considerably faster than Internet speeds, so keeping everything in-house should perform better and keep your users happier. An advantage of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud is you don't have to wait, but can try out the three basic cloud models -- private, public, and hybrid -- cheaply and easily. If you're still a little hazy on how all this cloud stuff works, and why cloud computing is better than old-fashioned client/server, figure 1 saves a thousand words:
You might be wondering how a cloud is different from old-fashioned timeshares on mainframes, or ordinary client-server computing. The concept is the same. What's different is how resources on the server side are managed. All functions and resources are abstracted away from the hardware to create a flexible, dynamic server environment that scales up or down on demand. It uses hardware very efficiently and increases its usable capacity. It's also different on the client side, since the trend is to push everything, including services and development platforms, through a Web browser. Your users don't have to worry about operating system and application compatibility, but simply fire up their favorite Web browsers to go to work. Linux is especially well-suited to any client/server model because networking is part of its core architecture.
Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud
Ubuntu Server 10.04 LTS, Lucid Lynx, gets my vote as the best operating system to build your cloud infrastructure on. This is a long term support release that is supported through April 2015. Lucid Lynx is one of the best Ubuntu releases, and is well-suited for enterprise deployments. Ubuntu itself is always free. You can purchase commercial support and training, and various hosted services as you need, such as Ubuntu's own cloud offering, Ubuntu One, and the Landscape server and cloud monitoring and management service. Landscape can run hosted by Canonical, or on your premises.
Ubuntu Server is built for strong cross-platform support, supporting Linux, Mac, and Windows machines with single sign-on and shared services. Ubuntu Server can manage your LAN, or plug into an existing Active Directory domain or other network. It is certified on Tier 1 hardware including Dell, HP, IBM, and Intel.