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December - 2010 - issue > CEO Spot Light
Thinking-of-Hosting-into-Cloud?-Think-Twice
Prateek Kathpal
Friday, December 3, 2010
Cloud hosting is at its peak now-a-days and everyone is either setting up a private or public cloud or is in discussions to get into one. More and more companies/service providers are storing their documents and content into cloud. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2012, 80 percent of Fortune 1000 enterprises will pay for some cloud-computing service.

Users upload their documents into these clouds to easily share, collaborate and mange content. Service providers are choosing public cloud storage providers like Amazon EC2, Rackspace and Microsoft Azure for daily data storage needs. The advantage of course quick setup and go to market with no need to worry about data backups, downtimes and best of all no scalability issues. You pay only by amount of storage and bandwidth used.

While the advantages are enormous for this low-cost and less upfront capital investment approach of storing content, but it is just one-sided story. The costs for storing and serving content can very quickly pile up if enough care and consideration is not taken while choosing the cloud hosting vendor. For example, the cost for uploading a 1GB document into EC2 or Azure is about 35 cents and then accessing this document 4-5 times over the life span of document can cost up to $2, and this is all for just a single 1GB file. Think of the costs involved when you are uploading/downloading hundreds and thousands of documents from within your application.
Service providers do not think about this initially as the advantages of these public storage clouds, like consistent backups, reduced capex, full archrivals and no need to setup redundant servers or disaster recovery centers, overweigh their decisions at the initial time. But soon after, as business starts growing, the bandwidth charges turn the low cost storage clouds option into a night mare.

So what would be the solution then? What if, we could make use of the advantages these storage clouds offer and at the same time control our bandwidth costs. The answer lies in the new revolutionary concept called Elastic Content Viewing or in simple terms content streaming.
Content Streaming is not new and we have been using it for a while now. When you go to a site like You Tube the video is streamed to your browser and you start viewing it instantaneously without the need to download complete file locally first. Elastic Content Viewing is this same concept now being applied to other file formats like Office documents, PDF, AutoCAD files. Elastic Viewing allows you to view documents from where they are, without the need to download it completely, much like audio video files and offers progressing content downloading as user views the content, thereby reducing your bandwidth costs drastically.

With the enormous growth of cloud hosting & sharing, challenge lies in becoming a low cost operation and new trends like Elastic Viewing are helping in keeping a tab on the costs.
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