When people talk about cloud, I find they often forget the most crucial element of cloud computing, namely the cloud context. The whole point of cloud computing is being connected. Taking the same technology and leaving it isolated behind a corporate firewall, cut off from the outside world, entirely misses the point, which is why I have a problem with the much-touted concept of 'private cloud'. As I'm fond of saying, you can't take the computing out of the cloud and still call it cloud computing.
So I was pleased to have the opportunity the other week to take part in a webinar here on ebizQ on the topic of using the cloud for business-to-business integration. This is a topic that epitomizes all the reasons why cloud solutions have to be architected from top to bottom to operate in the globally connected, public cloud environment. B2B integration is all about staying connected to partners and customers and in today's business environment, when everyone expects real-time information and instant responses, it's simply not possible to do that unless you're using integration platforms that were designed to cope with all the demands of the cloud environment.
That's why I coined the term cloud scale, which aims to encapsulate all the features that fully functioning cloud platforms have to incorporate. It's about having the always-on performance, on-demand scalability and walk-up availability required to participate in the competitive world of the public cloud. It's also about having the open APIs and broadly-based bandwidth to be able to connect with ease and speed to cloud resources and partners. Multi-tenancy is a core attribute, not only because of the economies of scale and versionless upgrades it enables, but also because a single shared operating instance is constantly evolving to keep pace with the most demanding participants in a broad and varied customer base.
All of this is explained in the webinar, called Making Real-Time Business Connections with Cloud-Scale Integration and sponsored by IBM. It's the clearest exposition I've yet recorded of these concepts, and it also includes some very instructive case studies from Hubspan's VP of product management, Margaret Dawson, that show how enterprise customers are making practical use of cloud-scale integration in production B2B environments.