Cloud computing is high on hype but I think it’s going to cross the chasm. Cloud computing is IT infrastructure as a service. It is on-demand CPU, disk space and software that is virtual and scalable and available via the Internet. It opens the possibility of any software developer to have a web app available that can grow or shrink with demand. For example, a store front may need to grow by orders of magnitude over the Christmas holiday shopping season but need much less capacity in the following months. A cloud solution allows you to pay for what you use. This scalable infrastructure on demand seems to be a great architecture for a business intelligence solution except for two questions. Will it meet security requirements and will there be enough bandwidth to transfer data to the data repositories?
At Market Street Solutions we are researching the use of cloud computing resources in business intelligence and performance management. We are creating example architectures in Microsoft, IBM Cognos and QlikView. My project is to create a prototype Microsoft Business Intelligence server in the cloud. I will be using Microsoft SQL Server with Analysis Services and Reporting Services along with SharePoint and PerformancePoint on an Amazon EC2 instance.
I’m building a model BI server on Amazon’s Compute Cloud — EC2. The process involves creating key pairs, security groups, Elastic Block volumes, images, instances, AMI’s, S3 buckets and several other terms that that business intelligence professionals didn’t use on a daily basis, if ever. I think that this is going to shake the foundations of IT and the way we build systems.