30 December 2010

Cloud Computing - From Hype to Hope

This is a 2009 interview with Larry Ellison CEO of Oracle, where he has a rant about the concept of “cloud” technology. Larry argues that the technology components of the cloud are all existing technologies and even the primary business model of cloud, the concept of “rental” has been around for more than a decade so cloud is more about hype than any real innovation. But it is the combination of the technology, the business model and the “hype”, which has made cloud computing a technology of great interest today. I would agree with Joseph Foran that cloud is an evolution and is here to stay.

The emergence of cloud computing brings together the concepts of primitive beginning, hidden usefulness and how combinations of technology can lead to a new path which technology changes may take. The internet had fairly humble beginnings, where it was used to share research. The internet of today still enables research sharing but has also brought new paradigms for online shopping, social networking, applications and even the research and knowledge sharing has grown substantially with the inclusion of wikis. Cloud computing leveraged this shift in internet use and in combination with the rental business model may be poised to free organisations from some of the ICT baggage, which has weighed down their budgets, if they can live with the services that are being offered, whether these be infrastructure, platform or application-related.

While for start-ups making use of cloud services is a way to minimise ICT-related capital expenditures and as the decision will be made from the start there should be little disruption. However, for established organisations journeying into cloud will cause significant change for both business and ICT. It is going to be challenging to balance the "economics of the cloud" with the organisation's differentiators; to find when and where investment into the cloud makes the most sense; to align the cloud strategy with the overall organisation strategy. Could be an interesting time for Enterprise Architecture.

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