The State of the Cloud

Purposeful View: Is the Cloud living up to the hype? (by Walt Lapinsky, 8 February 2013)

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It often appears that Cloud Computing has not taken hold as much as we were told it would. Probably true, but there is a lot more Cloud usage than you might ever believe. Even in your own company, there may be several shadow Cloud projects going on that you are not aware of, initiated by individuals or small groups.

Marketing and analyst predictions on a new product are almost always inflated. There are some obvious reasons that the Cloud has not achieved, in hindsight, the unreasonable growth predicted a few years ago:

  • The soft worldwide economy.
  • Indecision about the impact of US laws and regulations on the cost of running a business, especially in the areas of taxes and health care.
  • Residual uncertainties onthe economic situation in the Euro Zone. While the noise has lessoned, it is fairly clear that the underlying problems have not been fixed, or probably even eased.
  • The switch to Windows 7. It is amazing how distracting this kind of exercise is to an IT shop.
  • The huge adoption of tablets and smart phones by employees, often against the wishes or even commands of IT. Again, a huge distraction.

Many of these economic issues have not yet disappeared with the arrival of the New Year. But the Cloud is taking hold. As one example, an IDC survey of UK-based Cloud managers reported that three quarters of the surveyed companies “viewed the Cloud as the way to solve their key business issues.” One thing that is changing is that Cloud managers are realizing that the real benefit of the Cloud to their business is in increased agility giving them a competitive edge. Saving money, while still important, is no longer the main driver for the Cloud in most companies.

Another significant change is that companies are starting to move their “bet the business” applications to the Cloud. This is largely enabled by the maturity of the major Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) and their ability to scale almost without bound. Some CSPs have signed deals with blue chip companies to support applications with significantly more than 100,000 users. Most companies are planning to move additional applications to the Cloud in 2013.

An October ComputerWeekly.com report indicated that only 5% of companies have a Cloud strategy, and only 20% of companies have the resources to actually create a plan. This means, alarmingly, that a lot of companies are moving into the Cloud without a plan. Is yours one of them? If so, we suggest that it is a bad idea. While the Cloud can have significant benefits in terms of reduced costs and increased agility, if used inappropriately it can have severe security, performance and availability implications. If you are not part of the lucky 20% with the appropriate internal knowledge, skills and time to create your Cloud adoption plan, then get help.

Our view: If you believe that there are many economic unknowns in 2013 then the journey to the Cloud is likely to be critical to your company’s future. Only the Cloud allows you to quickly react to the upward and downward changes that are coming. What is your competition doing about the Cloud? Keep in mind that it may be hard to determine whether they have begun that journey, until they demonstrate their ability to react faster than you can.

Comments? Questions? Contrary views? Some event we missed?
We welcome your feedback at talk@purposefulclouds.com

Purposeful Clouds helps companies assess and plan their best options for Cloud technology adoption, with before-the-fact consideration of contingencies, ROI, and further migration strategies. To discuss how we would be able to help you make the best decisions, contact us at info@purposefulclouds.com.

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