Cloud users should not ignore geography says Forrester

Report points out that IaaS does not solve latency issues

The notion that distance doesn't matter when it comes to cloud computing is a misguided one according to new research from Forrester. Ignoring geographic issues may be "perilous" for corporate customers warned the company in a new report, Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS) Clouds Are Local And So Are Their Implications

And security remains a key inhibitor for companies, with 50 per cent of the Forrester survey respondents citing this as their reason to adopt cloud computing as a business strategy, just ahead of the 43 per cent who said that the technology was too immature.

The report, written by James Staten and Onica King, warns that IaaS clouds do not "inherently provide geographic locality, nor do they solve performance latency. End user performance will only be high for users who have geographic proximity to the cloud data centre or who are directly resident on the networks that are interconnected at this data centre.

In particular, the company pointed out that cloud users could be just as vulnerable to security outages as if they were using their own data centres. "In most cases, when you deploy to an IaaS cloud you are provisioned onto the cloud infrastructure within a single data centre and are thus vulnerable to an outage at that facility just as you are in your own data centre today. If your cloud provider has multiple data centres, it's your responsibility to set up disaster recovery and availability solutions," wrote Staten and King

It's not only the geographic location that should be a concern, Forrester has also reiterated about the compliance problems involved in storing data within the cloud, The company has warned about the clash between security professionals and application developers where security professionals tend to be wary about an enterprise's use of cloud computing while application developers are focused on improving productivity. Forrester's advice is that improving time to market can carry "substantial legal risks".

But, the report also pointed out, it's not just a question of legal imperative, there could be cultural guidelines to follow too. "One European manufacturer required its data be stored in Italy, where it was headquartered this wasn't a legal restriction, but the company said it was responding to cultural pressure to keep Italian data in Italy" wrote Staten and King.

Forrester's advice on cloud computing is to "Think globally but act locally" and bear in mind privacy laws pertaining to different countries. It said that cloud computing hype "is far from reality" and companies going down this route should pay close attention to where data centres will be situated.

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