Monday, August 24, 2009

What Is The Future Of Cloud Computing Part I

With so many companies rushing to announce their development in cloud computing /SaaS/PaaS in 2009, is cloud computing really economically viable in the long-term?

Will large enterprises and Small and medium businesses actually go in for cloud computing and virtualization?

What will be the benefits and problems associated with the same?

Which industries are more likely to be the front-runners in cloud implementation?

Clearly, "cloud computing" has a future, however, the vaunted image of it providing a panacea for the problems of ICT deployment within business is misguided at best.

Certainly, as with existing "3rd party hosted services", the initial problems are in defining *scope*, not just in terms of the service provision but in the impact to internalized business processes. Unless there is a clear definition of scope and function, then there can be real problems in terms of integration with retained processes. At the extremes of implementation, such service offerings must be wholly definable and commoditized or provide a *framework* for business process integration - the same way that a SAP deployment effectively dictates the BP model rather than conforming to existing and disparate BP models.

When services are commoditized, can we really vaunt them as "cloud computing" - surely the phrase "hosted services" already suffice, whether in IaaS, PaaS or SaaS? Can we conclude that the "cloud" is presenting something more rather than just promoting a marketing niche.

We must also consider applicability and the scale of providers in meeting the demands of large corporations. Unless commoditization is high then providing services to large numbers of clients, especially in terms of IaaS and SaaS, can be unwieldy for providers and so inevitably some form of framework for a focussed solution has to be deployed.

On the one hand, we might consider a large corporation that essentially outsources "everything", (I)(P)(S)aaS - this is *unlikely* since meeting the needs of multiple large clients would require massive service providers and the use of subcontract services would become highly complex and inefficient. For SMEs, this "complete" outsourcing might be viable if a business process model was also applied, essentially running the same model for all small clients. I see effective models providing commoditized services to large corporations and BP frameworks to SMEs.

I am not convinced that the development of open standards is sufficient to support the interoperability required for large scale deployments, which in turn would create "hubs" rather than the true "open" service environment that we might perceive. EDI has not been able to develop *truly* open standards in the last 40 years and I do not see the drive being strong enough to develop them within the "cloud" paradigm.

The question of "which industries..." .... is probably prescient of the way that cloud computing will develop. I see the provision of services within very specific industries being the major beneficiaries due to their existing integration and business process infrastructure. As an example, manufacturing within the automotive industry or utilities industry. I believe that *industry* initiatives will provide the most fertile ground as opposed to pure "free market" delivery of services to disparate clients.

Ultimately, purely from a service provision business model, it can only achieve effectiveness if targeting a homogeneous group, therefore, any industry with an authoritative associative group attached to it could benefit from *efficient* "aaS" implementation.

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Blogger jake said...

I think cloud computing will likely take over most industries. The reason being speed to market and ongoing money savings. As with a recent client of ours, a full system can be created from scratch using PaaS tools in only a few weeks. This saves a great deal of development time and money, not to mention ongoing costs. In today's economy these savings will win out.

3:50 PM  

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