14 October 2009 | Tanya Goodin

The outlook is cloudy

partyYour worst nightmare when you throw a party is that you get all your cheese and pineapple nibbles ready, shine the dance floor for your break-dancing employees and then no-one comes.

The worst nightmare on the Internet is that you throw a party and 1 million people come.

Just ask Perform, the digital sports specialists who streamed the Ukraine v England match
on Saturday online. They were so worried about their site crashing that they limited
the number of subscribers to 1 million. The reason given by Peter Silverstone, managing
director of Kentaro (an international agency appointed by the Ukrainian Football
Federation who originally sold the UK rights for the game to Setanta) is that this
subscription limit would be the “safe number to stop at to ensure the optimal broadcast”.

In actual fact, only about 200,000 people purchased to watch the match, but does this
mean that Perform paid for the hosting and bandwidth for a million subscribers, or only
for the 200,000 that streamed the match live?

Is it just me or does this strike you as being a bit prehistoric?

The days of a website falling over from too many hits should be over and, if you hadn’t heard, broadband is a utility so you should only pay for what you use!

When you turned on your kettles at half time, did you expect all electricity to your house to stop being delivered, because your limit had been exceeded? Did you need to ring up the electricity board to tell them about your intended usage in advance? No, you turned it on, expected it to work and pay for your actual usage at the end of the quarter. It’s that simple. And broadband delivery is / should not be any different.

Welcome to cloud services and infrastructure web services platforms, dynamically scalable ‘on-demand’ resources, that preclude the need to define usage for peak loads, provided as a service over the Internet.


Cloud computing customers can avoid capital expenditure on hardware, software, and
services when a provider is paid only for
what is used. The cost is then converted to
operational expenditure (so reducing a
barrier to entry), with customers paying a
smaller recurring operating expense based
only on what they used, which is particularly
valuable in cases where an organisation has unpredictable or fluctuating service
. These cost benefits must however
be weighed up against any loss of control,
access and security risk.

In addition, organisations need to be increasingly aware of skyrocketing power and cooling costs and how “green” they are. Using a cloud computing solution will allow organisations to offload most of these issues to their cloud provider. In order to reduce costs and attract customers cloud computing providers, like Amazon, will minimise their carbon footprint by building energy and eco-efficient data centres.

Some of the biggest benefits for many organisations are the time to value and reduced risk. They want to begin seeing the value of their solution so they need it to be up and running as quickly as possible. With cloud computing, organisations can usually start seeing value immediately and at the same time reduce their risk, as the provider already has the solution running. And the provider’s success is directly tied to customer success as customers can simply cancel their subscription if they are not happy.

Expect this trend to continue and develop at a rapid rate. Expect the forecast to get cloudier.

Tanya Goodin

Tanya Goodin

Founder of Tamar