A few swallows in the Cloud are not altering the landscape

I'm happy for Rodrigo Flores (who has probably given up on me at this point) that he has a few strong sales leads over Christmas. But I don't think that constitutes the future arriving "with a bang", an "altered landscape" or proof that Cloud is "happening" in any widespread transformational sense.

Rodrigo is THE man to talk to about Cloud and self-service catalogue. If Cloud was really "happening" and the landscape was altering and the future was going bang, I'd expect him to have 100,000 requests to talk right now from the millions of IT shops around the world.

In 1997 I was selling integrated monitoring of services across servers, networks, applications, databases and desktops, federating foreign monitoring tools as well. A small number of huge or advanced sites around the world were implementing it.

In 1998 I was selling automated user self-provisioning of services from an active service catalogue. A small number of huge or advanced sites around the world were implementing it.

In 1999 I was selling project portfolio management (PPM). A small number of huge or advanced sites around the world were implementing it.

in 2000 I was selling e-commerce as the new business paradigm. A small number of huge or advanced sites around the world were implementing it.

In 2001 I was selling intranet portals as transformers of organisational culture (sorry Dan). A small number of huge or advanced sites around the world were implementing them.

In 2002 I was selling ...

I don't think it is healthy for the industry to talk up advanced niche specialist technologies as if they are some tidal wave transformation. It has happened way too many times in our industry already and it's happenign again with Cloud. The vendors and analysts whip each other into a frenzy of hype, generating an industry that comes and goes as it soars over the Hype Cycle into a stable middle age of a minority user adoption in the limited cases where it really adds value beyond its cost and complexity. In some cases over many years it inches its way into the mainstream as a commodity (OO, middleware, RDB...), in others it doesn't (monolithic systems management). Sometimes they slowly bleed over from the consumer market (web browsers). Sometimes it takes the market a decade or more just to wake up to it (ITSM, PPM).

A few swallows do not a summer make.


Thanks for the shout out

As always!

Funnily enough there's probably a balance to be had.

I'm in Silicon Valley where cloud is everything and people feel like it's already happened. It hasn't. It's the cloud distortion field. I'm the skeptic in this valley.

You are in NZ, where your view is that it's not really relevant yet. It's probably true. I'm the cloud man there.

Truth be told, I'm neither. Cloud transformation will take a decade or more. And the level of urgency will depend on where you sit in the value chain. For example, telco's and MSP's worldwide (including ANZ) are urgently working on their offerings. So that is going to happen.

Their existing enterprise customers are waiting for the "enterprise class" cloud services from their existing vendors so they can begin experimenting with use cases like Development and Test, maybe load testing, and a few even scaling (but few).

I'm seeing mid-tier VAR's, resellers, and others also planning to offer cloud services but with more professional services tied around it. Which is a very logical step from their existing offerings. For example, we are small company so we buy a lot of cloud services and some come from small VAR's because they'll do the work that bigger companies won't do to service our account. Very logical for them to offer us the next step up.

As for me, getting on a plane on Thursday for an all day trip to help two customers with their cloud architecture, in the middle of the frozen north, is not my idea of fun. But they have that urgency. So we must go.

The world is big enough to tolerate different realities.

silver bullet of the vendor-analyst hype engine

Reasoned and reasonable as always, Rodrigo.

Unfortunately there are CIOs and others in IT who read the Cloud I-read-it-in-CIO-so-it-must-be-true twitterbabbleblogbuzz and announce "we must do Cloud" just like they did with Agile and ITIL and e-commerce and whatever other silver bullet the vendor-analyst hype engine has served up their credulous uncritical eyes. They don't read stuff like you just wrote in the comment above, and if they do it fails to register in their over-excited minds.

Witness (witless?) the recent US Govt announcement that Cloud is the magic fix that is finally going to allow them to consolidate data centres as they have been promising to do for how many decades now? "eliminating at least 800 of the government's 2,100 data centers by 2015" no less. OFFS! Presumably the tooth fairy is doing the implementation. There is no technical solution to a political problem. But you poor US taxpayers will foot the bill for whatever B.S. sleight-of-hand they come up with to make it look like they've delivered on this.

Perhaps Chokey the Chimp needs to go after Crap Forecasts as well as Crap Factoids.

P.S. See? My view is a mite wider than NZ-only :)

Knee of the curve

How many swallows define an altered landscape? Where is the rubicon to transformation?

Most common folk didn't consider the internet transformational until the mid-90s or so. Yet it had been expanding at a constant rate since its inception. The number of participants doubled every year. None of the examples you give above share that characteristic.

Interestingly, if you take the rate of cloud users and chart it logarithmically, you'll notice a constant rate of adoption. Just like telephones, radios, cell phone subscribers, compute devices, etc.

deficient, defective, backward

Cloud will probably grow to be as important as RDB. it might grow to be as important as the internet.

the question is when, and whether that mnatters right now to the majority of IT shops. It doesn't. Cloud is presented like CMDB: if you aren't doing it now you are deficient, defective, backward. In both cases that's not so for 95% of organisations.

Right now it is a fringe technology for those advanced enough with the right peculiar combination of requirements: no legacy and no integration with legacy, loose controls, low IT accountability...

I think CLoud is amazing and I suspect it will be transformational. But it isn't mainstream and won't be soon.

Thank you for this

Thank you for this refreshingly, ehm, skeptic, comment. I suspect venting opinions like this will not earn you any kudo points in the industry, but it will keep me coming back for more.

FWIW, I could not agree more. In addition to your points, I also get the feeling cloud computing is an answer to an entirely IT-industry generated problem (of scalability and management), not to any business problem. New bags, same old wine.

Wow. I couldn't disagree

Wow. I couldn't disagree more. Perceiving cloud as an infrastructure management tool is like trying to understand a waterfall by catching it in a bucket.

Cloud is a business tool.
- Want to try market offerings without large upfront capital investments, or scale in response to marketing success? (See capital markets, banks and viral marketers.)
- Enter new markets without investing in assets? Cloud is a popular vehicle for retailers (big and small) entering the African market, for instance.
- Displacing the laptop with ipads and such? Pocket cloud services? Law firms and other knowledge organizations are leading the way. Followed closely by merchant payment firms and restaurant chains.
- Sky computing? Market analytics? HPC? Collaboration clouds?

Perhaps the reason you don't observe more cloud uptake is you are facing the wrong horizon.

Innovation is not our day job

I don't think Cloud skeptics are the ones looking at the wrong horizon. You provoked a post, thank-you

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