I often hear a debate about exactly who is using cloud computing - especially the IaaS variant. Many times I hear people aver that cloud computing is mostly being used by SMB companies. Others assert that cloud computing will really pick up when really large companies make the move. I dissent from both of those perspectives. I believe over the next couple of years it will be midsize companies that really leverage IaaS cloud computing.
Stories by Bernard Golden
The tech world is all a-twitter (literally!) about an article in this month's Wired Magazine which announces "The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet". The article recites a litany of problems that are choking the Web: the rise of apps that replace use of a Web browser; the growth of uber-aggregation sites like Facebook that are closed platforms; the destruction of traditional advertising and replacement by Google, the semi-benevolent search monster; and even the move away from HTML and use of port 80-based apps.
There has been a spate of interesting - and contradictory - stories and research reports about how enterprises are or will embrace cloud computing, topped off by a report by Forrester analyst James Staten that concludes that for all the talk about private clouds, they're a pipe dream for all but a few enterprises.
A key benefit often discussed about cloud computing is how it enables agility. This benefit is real and powerful. However, the term agility is used to describe two different kinds of benefit; both are real, but one of them will, ultimately, be seen as offering the greatest impact. This post will discuss the two types of agility and provide some examples of how compelling the second type is.
Recently I was in London, speaking at the Cloud Computing World Forum. From my perspective, it was an ideal event: large enough to have a critical mass of interesting vendors and attendees, and small enough to support quality conversation. If you've been to any of the large U.S. cloud shows, you'll know how hard it is to accomplish the latter quality at them - they're packed and conversations are reduced to sound bites. Of course, the conference being located in Britain, there was less tolerance for over-the-top claims and marketing hype, which was also a refreshing relief.
An article last week in Network World displayed all of the glorious promise, challenge, and contradictions of cloud computing in less than 1000 words. The article focused on the quality of support for Amazon Web Services' user forums, based on a study by a team of researchers from IBM and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
This weekend saw the publication by Joe Weinman, coiner of the term "Cloudonomics," of a blog post called "Lazy, Hazy, Crazy: The 10 Laws of Behavioral Cloudonomics". Joe has published a great deal analyzing the economics of cloud computing, much of which illustrates that cloud computing can provide significant financial benefits. But this latest post is a must-read, because its implications are crucial to every IT organization.
I had the privilege of keynoting a data center conference in Moscow this week, speaking on the topic of what cloud computing means to the data center of the future. This is the largest data center conference in Russia, and attracts a mix of internal data center facilities executives as well as hosting providers. The conference was extremely well-attended, with record numbers of people registering.
I came across a very interesting <a href="http://www.ca.com/us/products/collateral.aspx?cid=235665">cloud computing security study</a> from the Ponemon Institute (sponsored by CA, but independently carried out by Ponemon). The study is based on a survey the Institute carried out, responded to by around 900 people.
I came across a link to a new report from IDC called the "2010 Digital Universe Study".
I attended Interop last week for the first time to participate in its cloud computing track (I spoke on cloud computing total cost of ownership). Several things stood out for me:
The question of costs associated with cloud computing continue to be controversial. You may recognize in this blog's title, an homage to the motto of Bill Clinton's 1992 Presidential campaign: "It's the Economy, Stupid." The motto referred to the decision by the Clinton campaign to focus relentlessly on how the U.S. economy was doing in 1992, sidestepping other issues and always, always circling back to the economic outlook for the US. I was reminded of this by some recent discussions on Twitter that discussed the importance of economics in terms of cloud adoption.
I was talking to a colleague who works for a large technology vendor. His company offers products to enable IT organizations to construct cloud infrastructures inside their own data centers - to turn existing stable, static computing environments into ones that support scalability, agility, and dynamic applications. The company's progress on its products has been impressive, early implementations successful, and interest from their customer base (infrastructure groups within large IT organizations) high. However, he shared an apprehension with me regarding product adoption. "I'm concerned that while our customers are working on a very deliberate plan that will take a couple of years - doing their research, performing a pilot, evaluating the economics, making the capital investment business case - that the apps side of the house will just charge ahead using on-demand public cloud providers like Amazon." While he was worried about this trend from the point of view of how it will affect the prospects for his company's products, my mind moved toward a different outcome: the boomerang.
This week saw the latest edition of CloudConnect, a cloud computing conference, held in Santa Clara. It was a well-attended, highly energized get together. CloudConnect (think I'll refer to it as "CC" for the rest of this post to reduce typing) contained a number of tracks, including Development, Standards (more on this one in a bit), Big Data, Migration, Case Studies, and Cloud Economics/ROI (I spoke in this track in the "Cloudonomics" session, where, perhaps somewhat confusingly, I presented the TCO of a case study).
For as long as there have been computer systems, there have been system administrators.