Bernard Golden has 10 predictions focused on cloud as it relates to “Cloud Service Providers” and “End Users” (Bernard is author of Virtualization for Dummy’s). I selected Bernard’s list in combination with James Staten of Forrester, because I felt both of them gave insight that obviously contained significant industry knowledge and insight, not just positioning. Although I like all 10 of his predictions, I’ve selected eight of them to comment on.
Cloud Service Provider (CSP) predictions:
The CSP business explodes…and then implodes. I almost didn’t comment on this prediction because I thought it really spoke for itself and hit the nail on the head. However, I see two additional areas Bernard didn’t call out as being serious gaps for the average CSP. First gap is the availability of the right technical and business folks. You don’t just buy some infrastructure, install a cloud solution on it and call it ready. The process of establishing an appropriate solution to meet a specific set of business needs, while also providing you a reasonable margin for profit isn’t easy. Second gap is a combination of access to or ownership of some serious network at very low cost, along with having significant scale and geographic diversity to work with.
Market Segmentation via Customer Self-Selection. I actually addressed this to some degree in my ramblings about James Staten’s 2011 Cloud predictions, but I’ll add some more. The opportunity associated with cloud computing is the potential to democratize IT. SaaS and other new delivery models will generate a whole new set of business opportunities for a broad base of buyers, including many smaller businesses that have suffered with limited IT tools and options when compared to larger, more resourceful enterprises. With the availability of cloud-based solutions, SMBs will begin to benefit from some of the same applications and data management/business intelligence tools that much larger organizations have historically leveraged.
OpenStack will come into its own. My only comment on this is to add that many companies will adopt the OpenStack framework simply because they’re nervous about giving too much leverage to Amazon. Some in the cloud stack community believe that we should just adopt standards and API’s already in place at Amazon, but there is a large percentage of the same community who are hesitant to just hand the cloud reins to them.
Continued rapid innovation by CSPs and SaaS companies. It’s funny, but you hear it every few years that “IT will become irrelevant”. They’ll become irrelevant because of client server apps, because of standard ERP implementations, because of the internet, and now because of cloud. When will the folks who believe IT will become irrelevant realize that “IT” people are the ones making all this innovation? What is Google but an IT company, along with Microsoft, Netsuite, Netflix, or any number of thousands of other companies? The IT folks in every enterprise now have a better opportunity to be creative and innovate. IT needs to take the bull by the horns and move up the value chain to get closer to the business. If they make the move successfully we’ll start to see enterprise innovation through IT, and that will only increase IT’s value to the business.
End User predictions:
Focus on cost and transparency. The comments made here by Bernard are fantastic and specifically his point about the growth in applications corresponds with my “Cloud will bring Democracy to IT” blog a few months ago. Also, there are several cloud buyers groups (ECLC, ODCA, and AsiaCloud) that are working on projects that will help customers be better consumers and providers be better suppliers. I strongly believe the work going on in these buyers/suppliers groups will be critical to accelerate the adoption of cloud. Only when a buyer can quickly understand their risk from a cost, security, legal, performance, and availability perspective will they move more aggressively to public and hybrid clouds.
More public/private cloud confusion. I definitely see debate in this area, and much of that debate revolves around the actual existence of private cloud as a “real cloud”. Personally, I believe it is, and have written about it. The other issue I see is that there are many definitions of cloud. When you combine multiple cloud definitions with an inability for most of us to determine what cloud variety is best for a specific set of workloads (one size doesn’t fit all), then you start to see a key source of the confusion. I really like a twitter quote from a friend of mine, “Explaining cloud is a travelling salesman problem. Given 10 concepts, what is the most efficient way to tell the story? No optimal solution”. Thanks to James Urquhart
More hybrid cloud confusion. Coming from an IT infrastructure background, I can definitely understand Bernard’s points and largely agree with them. What I will say is that you shouldn’t let “what is difficult to do today” stop you from planning on it for the future. Like any problem in the world of IT, it’s only a problem until someone figures out a way to solve it. I believe we will solve the bandwidth issues soon enough and there are solutions available to help overcome portability, security, data location/ownership, automation, policy, & governance. However, the application side has remaining hurdles where licensing, DNS routing, DB synching and transaction duplication must be addressed for disaster avoidance or vendor contestability to work effectively.
IT operating challenges. All I can say to this prediction is wow, I mean WOW. The author did an outstanding job of covering the area that I’m probably the most comfortable with. In fact, beyond my own work experience at ServiceMesh we’re living these same concerns with large enterprises who are struggling to reconcile their current structures with a new more agile strategy. Most organizations today rely on tools like ITIL to help them determine work flow, customer management, change management, and other IT processes. Unfortunately, trying to drop an Agile IT solution that can respond in minutes and hours into a traditional environment that answers in days, weeks and months isn’t effective. Adopting cloud is much more than just having better scale or more efficient hardware; it’s really about a new way for IT to do business. An Agile IT environment must be able to respond quickly to ups and downs, but more importantly it needs to react quickly to opportunity. Today companies waste billions of dollars every year in the process of implementing or upgrading applications. In addition to the actual “effort cost” is the “lost opportunity”. Every day that a desired application isn’t ready, is a day when opportunity is lost. If there isn’t a cost associated with the lost opportunity, then you didn’t need the application in the first place.
Thanks to Mr. Golden for providing such excellent fodder for this blog.
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