Navigating technology in the cloud
High flying in the cloud isn't without its risks. Using the appropriate technology is half the job done but if you're going to make it to the finish line ahead of the pack you'll need to take a holistic approach to give you that competitive edge. Of course we're talking about drone racing.
It's is a sport that has quickly caught on among high tech gadget enthusiasts and those eager for the thrill of trying something new – not unlike early adopters of cloud technology like data storage and processing services. In this article we've drawn some clever similarities between what you'll need to succeed in the cloud – be it when flying a drone for fun or when storing and processing data for serious business.
You need a first-person view of your equipment
Drone racing pilots often make use of first-person view (FPV) goggles. Basically, they strap a special screen to their face while having the view from the drone transmitted back to the screen so they can see what the drone sees. It provides the much-needed view of obstacles and lack of altitude if the drone is no longer within the pilot's line of sight.
Cloud usage metering and accounting. Successful use of cloud technology requires that usage is metered and properly accounted for. It cannot be accurately managed if it doesn't. This benefits both the user and the provider of the cloud service. Furthermore, having the right tools and reporting available provide consumers with vital information to respond to the changing needs of their business. Appropriate APIs allow both providers and consumers to develop custom interfaces for managing their cloud-based solutions more effectively.
Protect it from accidents when doing practice runs
Netted areas are commonplace at drone racing arenas. They're designed to cushion a drone's fall if something goes wrong while experimenting with tight corners and tricky maneuvers at high speeds – it limits damage to the expensive drone and protects the pilots from injury. When money and lives are involved, it's better to err on the side of caution.
Isolation is key. In multi-tenanted computing environments, separation of applications and computing resources become paramount to the reliability of any solutions hosted on it. Isolation is usually for practical reasons but your region's legislation might also dictate certain access restrictions between systems. This also allows new or trial systems and software to be tested without affecting operational stability of adjacent systems.
Privacy and security. The one isn't much without the other. They're both tenets of data protection acts across the globe and are what causes most decision makers to postpone a move to cloud technology. All too often do cloud providers fail to implement the necessary malware protection and access control to create a safe computing environment. This has left "the cloud" with somewhat of a damaged reputation – which is fortunately fast becoming outdated.
The game will get competitive and expensive. Can you trust your provider?
In the high-stakes world of drone racing even high school kids get involved in DIY drone making. It's not to say their drones are worse off than the more corporately funded drone developers with their slick designs. Even these can lead to disappointment when compared with the expertise and passion that went into building a more rugged and effective drone by hand.
Trust is earned. It might well be earned through the testimony of others – if you can trust their opinions. So don't neglect to consider a provider's reputation. The proper due diligence in selecting a cloud provider will give you the peace of mind before selecting one.
Agree on service levels. SLAs are the quintessential ingredient to a fair and fruitful cloud technology experience. Reliability and availability are supposed to be the main benefits of running a cloud-based IT solution, whether it be for social gaming, as a prototyping platform for developers, or for rigid and intensive operational computing in a big data environment. With this comes the ability to recover quickly from an outage in order to maintain business continuity. So it's not too much to insist on some level of uptime.
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