After re-looking at the Blogging Idol topic for this week, I thought I should go back and try to answer the questions that were posed for us to discuss. Here’s my thoughts on the three questions (personal opinions only!).
How does an enterprise determine how to use the cloud effectively?
There are different aspects to this question: how to use the cloud, measures of effectiveness in cloud use, etc. I believe the answer to this question is the same as for any other use of IT, since Cloud Computing is really just an expansion of the tools available to the IT architect and designer. Determining the best approach to IT requires good planning, good management and good governance.
That being said, this is also a moving target. What might be effective today may be replaced or viewed as legacy tomorrow. Generally, the advice would always be “try before you buy” – don’t bet your business on any technology. And another good idea is to watch the hype cycle – jump onto the bandwagon at the point where your organization feels comfortable!
What’s driving cloud adoption?
First, there is no such thing as “the cloud.” Cloud-based services can be used in different situations (e.g., SaaS vs. IaaS), in different combinations (public, private, hybrid) and in different contexts (public-facing, internal, underpinning, etc.). Each needs to have a business case that justifies the selection of a cloud-based solution over other options.
This question also depends on whether you are a government, a large enterprise, a start-up or something in between these extremes. A greenfield start-up is possibly the easiest scenario for adopting a “cloud first” approach but even the US government can adopt that policy!
Needless to say, organizations will adopt a cloud-based solution when it costs less, when it provides services that are difficult to get elsewhere, when a community is involved, when capital for buying systems is not available, and for many other reasons. For some organizations, it may even be used to access external expertise that is not readily available in-house.
Is it here to stay, or will it be replaced by another computing model?
Again, cloud computing is not a single “thing” that will either be here or not. There is little doubt that cloud computing has changed the IT landscape (again?) and now provides additonal options for IT architects and designers to exploit. There is little doubt that some cloud services will prove useful and be around for a long time while others are less interesting and will disappear.
This is also true of the many products and services from vendors that claim to be cloud computing. Some will be successful and some will fail. Whether or not a “gorilla” – a dominant supplier – will emerge in the area of cloud computing is not obvious – my view is no, especially if emerging standards are successful at making it easy to move from one supplier to another.
Just as mainframes have not disappeared, minicomputers/servers are still around, and tablets won’t completely replace desktop PCs, so it can be expected that cloud computing will take its place and provide another option but will not replace everything that preceded it. The name may disappear, however!