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Cloud Computing - Game Changing?

Cloud computing makes sense and slowly this delivery model will end up disrupting traditional delivery mode

Raj Sheelvant's IT Strategy Blog

Anything as a Service (XaaX) is potentially game-changing technology that could reshape IT. Amazon, Google and Salesforce.com have the most mature offerings. Other companies like IBM, AT&T, and Verizon are jumping on the ‘cloud’ bandwagon. Will it attract large number of customers? I think IT executives of large organizations will stay on the sidelines and will decide not to enter the cloud now, during its infancy.

The lingering questions about reliability, security and overall performance hang over cloud computing providers. Large companies do not have the risk tolerance to start using cloud computing immediately. Most CIOs and IT Executives in large organizations will wait for the technology to mature before putting even the most non-essential applications on someone else’s servers. But according to a recent article some large companies that are accepting the risk are allowing isolated teams working on one-off projects to peek into the cloud and catch a glimpse of its value. The article also states that whether they’re tapping the capabilities of software as a service (SaaS), platform as service (PaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or any of the countless other XaaS alternatives flooding the market, businesses find all manner of benefits from the cloud.

But the question still remains – Is it a game changing technology? As long as large companies perceive ‘cloud computing’ as risky, it’s not going to be a game changer.

While Large Organizations are slow to adopt SaaS model, SMB (Small and Midsize Businesses) are increasingly using ‘cloud’ computing as the perception of risk has changed according to this article ‘Warily, Small Businesses Look To Cloud Computing’. Also, most small-business owners lack the time and expertise to develop and maintain a dynamic and attractive Web presence, their risk tolerance is higher. With ‘cloud’ computing, SMB gets access to the Enterprise Application with minimal upfront investment. At the same time cloud computing providers get an opportunity to continuously work to perfect this unique delivery model. This symbiotic relation between SBM and Cloud computing providers will make this emerging technology more pervasive in the near future. This in turn will reduce risk and will attract the large organizations to ‘cloud computing’ environment.

So, in the long run, most of the companies (large, mid size or small) do not want to have the overhead cost associated with running a large IT department that is solely involved in sustaining existing enterprise application. The need to upgrade (both hardware and software) as the half life of the technology keeps lowering is going to force the companies to look at cloud computing seriously. The ability to outsource ‘commoditized’ IT infrastructure and contextual IT applications (like payroll, HR etc.) will enable the companies to focus on their core competency. More importantly, the IT department within the organization will be able to focus on aligning IT to the business needs. IT can focus on building applications that will create/sustain companies the core competency. So, cloud computing makes sense and slowly this delivery model will end up disrupting traditional delivery model.

More Stories By Raj Sheelvant

Raj Sheelvant is a Software Project Manager at Intel. He has been in the field of IT for more than 15 years and has witnessed some spectacular IT project failures. From this observation, he has come to conclusion that most of the projects fail due to two main reasons 1) Software solutions deployed without clearly understanding the business problem 2) Software application¢s inability to adapt to the changing business strategies. Since then Sheelvant has become passionate about aligning IT with the business needs. He has dedicated his blog http://ITStrategyBlog.com for the sole purpose of propagating his vision of making IT "relevant and important" in creating and sustaining competitive advantage for the businesses. He holds MS in Engineering from University of Toledo and MBA in International Management from W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

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Most Recent Comments
MiamiWebDesigner 08/22/08 08:45:16 AM EDT

Kudos to the Cloud Crowd for Re-Inventing the Wheel!

One thing 30 years in the IT industry has taught me is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Another is that the only memory we seem to access is short-term. A third is that techno-marketeers rely on that, so they can put labels like "revolutionary" and "innovative" on platforms, products and services that are mere re-inventions of the wheel ... and often poor copies at that.

A good example is all the latest buzz about "Cloud Computing" in general and "SaaS" (software as a service) in particular:

http://tinyurl.com/6let8x

Both terms are bogus. The only true cloud computing takes place in aircraft. What they're actually referring to by "the cloud" is a large-scale and often remotely and/or centrally managed hardware platform. We have had those since the dawn of automated IT. IBM calls them "mainframes":

http://tinyurl.com/5kdhcb

The only innovation offered by today's cloud crowd is actually more of a speculation, i.e. that server farms can deliver the same solid performance as Big Iron. And even that's not original. Anyone remember Datapoint's ARCnet, or DEC's VAXclusters? Whatever happened to those guys, anyway...?

And as for SaaS, selling the sizzle while keeping the steak is a marketing ploy most rightfully accredited to society's oldest profession. Its first application in IT was (and for many still is) known as the "service bureau". And I don't mean the contemporary service bureau (mis)conception labelled "Service 2.0" by a Wikipedia contributor whose historical perspective is apparently constrained to four years:

http://tinyurl.com/5fpb8e

Instead, I mean the computer service bureau industry that spawned ADAPSO (the Association of Data Processing Service Organizations) in 1960, and whose chronology comprises a notable part of the IEEE's "Annals of the History of Computing":

http://tinyurl.com/5lvjdl

So ... for any of you slide rule-toting, pocket-protected keypunch-card cowboys who may be just coming out of a fifty-year coma, let me give you a quick IT update:

1. "Mainframe" is now "Cloud" (with concomitant ethereal substance).

2. "Terminal" is now "Web Browser" (with much cooler games, and infinitely more distractions).

3. "Service Bureau" is now "Saas" (but app upgrades are just as painful, and custom mods equally elusive).

4. Most IT buzzwords boil down to techno-hyped BS (just as they always have).

Bruce Arnold, Web Design Miami Florida
http://www.PervasivePersuasion.com