Cloud Computing Defined

Posted under: From the Blog 19th of November, 2010

At Gartner symposium this week and Cloud has been everywhere. Gartner analyst Darryl Plummer said Cloud was single largest category of enquiry. He went on to define cloud computing as

“a style of computing where scalable and elastic IT-related capabilities are provided as a service to customers using Internet technologies”.

He elaborated on the key elements of the definition:

Service-based – consumer concerns are abstracted and separated from provider concerns. Who cares what server their gmail is on?

Scalable and elastic – add or remove resources easily, no switches or wires to move.

Shared – share a pool of resources to build economies of scale beyond own organisation. This is bigger than outsourcing or earlier bureau models which lock computing resources to consumers.

Metered by use – pay for what you use and only what you use. Charges are based on units of use not the underlying equipment.

Delivered by the Internet – using Internet technologies like the web

My other notes follow.

Public or private cloud is not a binary choice but a spectrum. Gmail as best example of public cloud. SMEs bypassing private cloud and avoiding having IT departments. Remind me why we need IT departments.

Cloud service value chain: SaaS the big winner but IT looking at IaaS.
Business looking at SaaS and ignoring IT whose relevance again through the floor.
IT have fought new tech like PCs, internet every step of the way – get on the front foot with the cloud. No is never the right answer. Have to be in there and coordinate, cede ground and let go control.

Reconnect to value and take a lesson from cloud providers
Have to run as a service to deliver value. Why are you educating them in IT inputs and outputs? Work out what units of value they want to pay in. Add value through security, cloud risk mitigation.

Cloud moves computing from capacity to capability on demand, reduced cost, from tech consumption to value consumption.  Saving money should not be main reason. Cloud gives clear line of sight to costs. Pay for what is needed. Cloud charges are for use not equipment.

Many large organisations not doing cloud – security, other concerns. Cloud providers do security at least as well as you do. Cloud services brokerage is emerging to provide layered cloud services reducing risks, eg by adding security.

Brokerage of cloud services eg adding security, data escrow, service integration eg across software. Examples like Oxygen, Layer 7. Cloud brokerage and iPhone app development are the hot new businesses.

Remediation of failures, exit and data recovery issues for contract negotiation. SAS 70 as cloud security standard. Rights and responsibilities of cloud - PDF available on contract terms. Pick a provider and go – like going to dinner – pick a restaurant you like and go eat.

$60b market in 2009 to $150b by 2014. A revolutionary step in the overall evolution of IT, will seem like the missing link with hindsight.

Vendors struggling with conversion - Microsoft credible conversion is response to Google threat, Oracle waking up, SAP struggling. Licensing in the cloud very tricky.

Prototyping, crowdsourcing, email, dev and test seem to be sweet spots for cloud computing. Find your value proposition for cloud.

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