In discussions about cloud computing and in comments readers leave on my blog posts, I commonly get statements along the lines of "Yeah, this cloud computing stuff sounds great, but at the end of the day, you have to have an IT guy solving problems like they've always done." In personal interactions, I often hear this sentiment portrayed as, "Public cloud computing is fine for the SMB and startup market, but enterprises aren't ready to move to that model." The tone of much of this feedback is that anyone who advocates cloud computing is at best naive or at worst incapable of understanding the real details of IT.
Stories by Bernard Golden
The latest trend (or over-hyped term, if you like) is "consumerisation of IT." As with cloud computing, the term is somewhat ambiguous and is applied to a number of things that are recognisably related, but which differ in details.
IT is in a time of disruptive transition, caused by the rise of cloud computing. CIOs are in the midst of a maelstrom, and -- like Ulysses, the fabled hero from Homer's Odyssey -- are torn between the Scylla of established IT practices and the Charybdis of the future, both of which loom dangerously and portend trouble. Also like Ulysses, many CIOs must inure themselves to the din of tempting Sirens: the vendors who sing a sweet song of painless cloud transformation, made possible by the purchase of some software, or hardware, or a set of cloud services.
One of the topics most associated with cloud computing is its cost advantages, or lack thereof. One way the topic gets discussed is "capex vs. opex," a simple formulation, but one fraught with meaning.
I had the opportunity to participate in two conferences over the past couple of weeks, and got what are essentially headlines ripped from today's newspapers about the state of cloud computing in the real world as well as a figurative text message from the future of cloud computing.
Last week's blog post, Cloud CIO: Yes, Your Job is at Risk, was one of the most widely-read-and definitely the most -post I've ever written for CIO.com. Clearly, the discussion of cloud computing's effect on a CIO's career struck a nerve with readers.
Left unsaid--typically, anyway--in most discussions about cloud computing is the implicit threat that it will be the cause of job losses. The clamorous suspicion that many IT groups display toward public cloud services seems to have a large emotional component to it, and highly-charged negative emotions typically reflect visceral fear. It's difficult to conclude that some (if not much) of the resistance from internal IT groups to the use of public cloud resources boils down to simple worry about unemployment.
One of the aspects of cloud computing I find most fascinating is the fact that much, if not most, of the discussion about it focuses on how it affects infrastructure. Boiled down, most people spend their time thinking about what hypervisor should underpin their cloud, what server form factor should host their cloud, what storage device should persist their virtual machines, and so on.
I came across an article in InfoWorld about a survey that TheInfoPro conducted among Fortune 1000 firms regarding their use of public cloud storage offerings. The bottom line: they haven't, they aren't, and they won't. 87 per cent of respondents stated they have no plans to use public storage-as-a-service, while only 10 per cent say that they will. Clearly, the survey indicates this market segment has no use for cloud storage.
Last week marked the second OpenStack Design Summit. OpenStack, if you're not familiar with it, is an open source project founded by a joint effort and code contribution of NASA and RackSpace; however, the project has grown rapidly and has many more participants today. Among companies participating in the OpenStack project: Cisco, Dell, NTT, Citrix, and many others.
In his book "Predictably Irrational," Dan Ariely cites a study conducted at an upscale Menlo Park grocery store (speaking of which, how irrational is it that the Kindle version of this book costs $9.99, while the paperback version costs only $9.29 ... but I digress). The two professors published a paper based on the outcome of the study. Its title: Choice is Demotivating.
Last week I wrote about how CIOs should go about rolling out cloud computing initiatives. In the piece, my conclusion was headed "An Unusually Fast Platform Shift"; I noted that the pace of innovation and adoption regarding cloud computing far outstrips any previous platform shift.
The spread of enthusiasm for cloud computing seems unstoppable. Cloud computing -- a term that was unknown prior to 2007 -- has been named by Gartner as the number one priority for CIOs in 2011. One cannot recall a technology development that has gone from unheard-of to a key role in IT plans so quickly. So why has this unprecedented fervent cloud furor come to pass?
If you've read this blog over the past couple of years, it should be no surprise that I am a huge advocate of the theories of Clayton Christensen, author of "The Innovator's Dilemma." Christensen and his book were brought to mind this week by the cover story in Forbes about his severe health problems, his experience with the U..S healthcare system, and his prescriptions for how to fix it.
If I had to summarize my assessment of this week's CloudConnect conference, it would be this: Attention regarding cloud computing is rapidly moving toward the pragmatics of using it and away from the theories of studying it.