Sunday, March 08, 2009

Clouds are officially the new T-SOA

One of the questions I raised last year and early this (with the SOA is Dead meme) was what would be the next hype item that the analysts and vendors started flogging. Would it be cloud, would it be something else....

Well its definitely cloud.

IDC say it will be $42 billion by 2012 trumpeting the race to the cloud. Now before I start this rant lets be clear
  1. I think cloud computing is important
  2. I think it is different
  3. I have quite a bit of experience in the area
So that said.... what a load of rubbish is being spoken about clouds at the moment.

The kicker in the IDC article is the wonderful paragraph
To succeed, cloud services providers need to address a mixture of traditional and cloud concerns. According to survey respondents, the two most important things a cloud services provider can offer are competitive pricing and performance level assurances. These are followed by the ability to demonstrate an understanding of the customer's industry and the ability to move cloud services back on-premises if necessary.
So to succeed you need to be cheap but with a strong SLA, understand my industry and give me a back-out route.

As caveats go these are pretty big ones. The first is of course what every client says "be cheap" and clearly cloud isn't a premium service and so has to be cheaper than your current data centre approach. The second is again a no-brainer if you want your biz critical apps on the cloud, but this is quite tough especially if you are getting into secondary liability, i.e. the cloud provider is liable not just for the cost of the service when it goes down but also the cost to your business.

"Know my business" stacks up, especially for the SaaS providers and the last one basically says that the current Azure and Google App Engine model aren't what people are looking for.

In the last month the number of vendors who HAVEN'T tried to tell me about their SaaS/PaaS/IaaS/Cloud offer has to number a lot less than those who have. So I officially declare 2009 to be the year of cloud hype and make a bold prediction.

Most of the crap about cloud will turn out to be wrong and over optimistic. The focus on business reality and business cost will drive IT through 2009 and the use of cloud will primarily be driven by a desire to move towards a more OpEx model for IT.

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Dave Hughes said...

Hello Steve,

Though I concur with your inherent skepticism regarding 'market changing' hype terms like, SOA, Cloud (reworded Utilty Computing concept) etc., I do think the current economic pressures along with other slowly adopted constructs will accelerate 'Cloud' or outsourced infrastructure choices. e.g.

- Typical IT budget is between 3 to 6% of Top Line Revenue

- Over 60% of that budget is allocated to ‘Operations’; ‘keeping the lights on’

- Fixed CAPEX and OPEX models do not reflect the variability in both computing demand and revenue availability

- Variable ‘Pay per Use’ Utility/Cloud Computing models provide greater scalability while reducing the Operations Budget significantly – 30 to 60%

How can they do that?

- The ‘shared services model’ is extended across entire communities or marketplaces rather than a single company – economies of scale

- Accelerating adoption of standards models, e.g. Hypervisor (virtualization), Service Oriented Architectures (application abstraction from infrastructure), Virtual Storage, etc.

- Infrastructure Management Automation – increased productivity

- New ‘Mobile Internet Connectivity Model’ – this demand drives a standards based User Interface across all platforms from any location; the next gen user already expects a Google-like interface and function – why not adopt their ‘cloud infrastructure’ model too?

Though SLA commitments will be key, I think these are being sorted out and the current availability metrics of many 'cloud' suppliers are equal to or greater than many large IT organizations.

Steve Jones said...


I agree that cloud is real and can be useful but that the hype is getting ridiculous and the term is being applied to everything (in the same way as SOA was tagged onto every product).

Utility billing is very important for IT going forwards, the problem is that pieces like the quoted report set a ridiculous caveat and therefore lack the practicality that will deliver solutions.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

I couldn't agree more. The pricing or 'syndicated licensing' model necessary for true variable pay per use is lagging (this has always been a sticking point for vendors).

I would like to chat about some specific challenges and gain from your experiences without boring the rest of the community. Are you available on 'Linked In'?


Steve Jones said...

Yup I'm on linkedIn.


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