Why My Head Is In the Cloud

Monday, May 09, 2011

Bill Gerneglia

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Article by James Finnan

A lesson Big Business did not learn from the consumer markets.

When you look at the level of spending given to cutting-edge technology, big business is probably first, followed by Government and then followed by the consumer markets. 

Interestingly enough, I read an article today in the New York Times suggesting that “Yet it is increasingly evident they (Big Business) are not driving the new ideas, excitement and power-house technology companies in the ascent these days.”  

Forgive me for begging to differ; but I should think IBM, Microsoft, Cisco, Dell, Juniper, VMWare, Salesforce.com, SAP and other big businesses might have something to say about this observation. 

I tend to wonder if the author of the article (Steve Lohr) has even heard of some the companies running the data centers that support the internet’s shift to cloud based computing.

He cites the PC revolution in the work place as an example of where the consumer market has lead business. The implication being… the consumer knows more than big business.

Moreover, he suggested, “established technology companies – and their business and government customers – have trailed in cloud computing,” the author forgets there are issues for both government and business.

These issues run deeper than gaming or distribution of social networking topics.  Issues like security of data.  That said, he proceeds to cite the billions of $ certain companies are making to move products and services onto the cloud. 

It is true, companies like Google and Amazon are leaders in the space and have gained a significant foothold by catering to consumer-based solutions, but they also cater to business-based solutions. 

Perhaps he just got the title of his article wrong since he points out certain truisms that contradict the title: The Business Market Plays Cloud Computing Catch-Up.

Enterprise software has a long history of designing around a distributed based nature. 

Think about the business terminology that preceded the notion of cloud computing and networking in general - token ring networks, Ethernet, distributed applications, Arpanet (the forerunner of the internet), software as a service - SOA, virtualization, horizontal scaling and the internet itself. 

The cloud is not a revolution, but an evolution.  Innovation in the cloud does not rely solely on consumer demand.  It does represent an interesting opportunity to accomplish certain tasks on a scale never before imagined. 

In reviewing some research from this very site back in 2009 CIOZone saw such momentum building for the cloud - SaaS / Cloud Survey- Final Full Report  .  The adoption rate suggested in these findings alone is enough to keep my head in the cloud. 

Seems to me big business is actually leading the consumer market in driving demand for innovative cloud services and products, and will from this point forward.  I am wondering if others agree with this basic premise and if Mr. Lohr would not agree himself.

Cross-posted from CIOZone

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Don Eijndhoven I suppose its a matter of perspective. What we are now calling "The Cloud" is really nothing more than clustering servers running online services. If this is a correct assumption then we have been running 'cloud services' since the first clustered webserver. Think Hotmail, Altavista, Geocities etc. The difference between then and now is that currently we are 'webbifying' more applications (or their front-end) than we used to.

About Lohr's observation, I believe this too is largely defined by how you see 'the cloud'. Good article btw.
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