Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Is your Future Cloudy?

If you believe everything you read
the answer is YES!
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Your future will be in the clouds

In fact, you are already using Cloud Services and probably don’t know or care that you are. If your applications work and you get the information you want in a timely manner you probably don’t care very much about how it works. However, there is a growing cadre of technology companies that care a lot about how it works.

Cloud Services when done right are just like the electric or telephone services. Your flip a switch or pick up the phone and voila --- you are on! This is the vision for Cloud Services. As Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems famously said many years ago – it’s like the dial tone for the internet. Except he he was a little more snarky and called it “SunTone.”

Why do the Big Corporations Care?

  • According to Gartner - Could Computing revenue is on pace to surpass US$56.3 billion in 2009, rising 21.3 percent from 2008.
  • CIO’s identify Cloud based services as one of the top 10 priorities for 2009 as a way to lower upfront and ongoing costs.
  • Cloud computing is #3 on Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2009. (Virtualization is #1 – See follow on blog post).
  • Cloud Services are leading the way for Green IT initiatives.
  • Even the Obama administration is getting in on this. One of the candidates for the first ever Office of the CTO (for the White House) mentioned Cloud Computing is the way forward in a Feb 2009 interview.

Why do you care?

The reality is that you probably don’t. As long as you get the information you want from the applications you use you probably don’t care.

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I don’t want to pick on Twitter, but the famous / infamous Twitter Fail Whale is a perfect example of one of the risks with Cloud Computing. Uptime.

 

The reality check on Twitter and many of the other services that run on the “Twitter Platform” is that they are FREE.

Question - Should people that are getting FREE access to a service have an expectation for uptime?  The same question applies to Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and all the other Social Media sites that are out there.  Answer – No. Social Darwinism is at work here. Those with the best services will survive – even if there are temporary hiccups.

A corollary to this are companies that make their business on uptime. Sites like Amazon, eBay, and Google have a self-interest in insuring they have a high level of uptime – when they are down they are losing money. 

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) & Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) are dependent upon uptime. Virtualization of these environments are playing an increasingly vital role. This will be the topic of a follow on blog post in this series about Cloud Computing.

Where is the Silver Lining?

image I don’t think we need to look too hard for a silver lining. Everyone wants stuff to cost less, everyone wants what they want when they want it. As we will start to see … more and more people will be willing to pay for these services.

Of course, one of the Big Questions is … How much are people & corporations willing to pay. As has been proven in the past corporations are willing to pay. Sometimes because they are bound by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) and sometimes because they are bound to regulatory constraints. A challenge for most companies is determining a price point for consumers. This is one that still vexes many providers and will continue to do so as the market for Cloud Services continues to grow and morph to meet new market dynamics.

Are there Clouds on your Horizon?

Soap Lake 156

You bet. There are lots of them

This is the first in a series on Cloud Computing and the impact on Social Media, Enterprise Software, and Personal / Home use. Next up “The Rise of the Cloudlet” and “Your own Virtual and Private Cloud.”

What’s your story for Cloud Based Services? I’d like to hear about it. Perhaps we can collaborate on a few articles. My contact information is below. Send me an e-mail, Tweet me, or add a comment to this blog posting.

clip_image002About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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