Cloud Computing Starting to Follow the Sun-Wind-Moon

"Follow-the-sun"*, "follow-the-wind", "follow-the-moon" and "follow-the-kilowatt" are cloud computing operational strategies that dynamically shift processing around the global to balance demand proximity with low energy prices. While much of the discussion has been theoretical and speculative, we are starting to see implementation.

One commercial data center that explicitly promotes follow-the-sun operations is Amadeus, headquartered in Madrid.

A globalized cloud is not without its drawbacks. ZDNet(UK) reported back in 2007, "One bank that tried an experimental follow-the-sun processing model across Asia, Europe and the US reported that the proof of principle worked — but because of international financial and compliance regulations, was impossible to justify. Sarbanes-Oxley rules led to complex inter-company billing and cross-border taxation, and data privacy and security rules were also hard to follow."

More recently, we have seen Microsoft threaten to redistribute its Windows Azure OSaaS platform due to a tax dispute with the US state of Washington. Will cloud computing also result in a new form of regulatory arbitrage? Flee-the-taxman rather that follow-the-sun?

We'll end on a speculative note, wondering if Google's patent for a sea-going motion-powered data center will give birth to "follow-the-waves"?


* Follow-the-sun is also an enterprise operational strategy to dynamically shift workloads around the world to create a 24-hour workday.

(Image courtesy of Amadeus-Bangkok)