Cloudy in Phoenix
by Miki Sandorfi on Oct 12, 2009
SNW Fall 2009 kicks off today in Phoenix, and I’m struck by the number of sessions dedicated to “cloud”. Certainly, what has captured everbody’s imagination is the potential cost savings cloud solutions can have (I guess timing is everything — would the cloud concept have gotten this far had we not found ourselves in this lovely economic downturn?).
What I’m also surprised by is how many vendors are pitching their “cloud products.” To me, “cloud” has always been a delivery and payment mechanism: you get what you want quickly (and on-demand) and you simply pay for what you use. Given that, the term “cloud” seems to simply be an umbrella term for software-as-a-service (SaaS), Storage-as-a-service (STaaS), IT-as-a-service (ITaaS)… In fact, user “DanB” has posted a similar observation to Heidi Biggar’s blog here. Cloud is not a product.
So, trends in IT tend to go full-circle over time. Perhaps what’s we’re seeing is a resurgence of everything “as a service.” What’s changed? Possibly the maturity of virtualization technologies that solves one of the shortfalls of “as a service” in the past: driving high utilization rates to drop costs. Vendors’ products can enable cloud-like delivery of services. But I’ll say it again:
Cloud is not a product.
What do you think?
Comments (2 )
Thanks for stating the reality. Cloud is not a “product.” Or at least it’s not a single product. In my simplistic way of thinking, the cloud is that graphic on a network diagram showing connection to the Internet. I love it because I didn’t need to know anything about the switches, routers or servers in it, just that I could easily connect and use the resources without incurring power, floor space, support costs. Same thing with the latest in online services, XaaS, where IT is seeing opportunity to move whole applications, thus cost, to the cloud.
I just find it interesting how vendors seem to follow the latest market buzz and modify their messages to claim that’s what they do. Companies like Salesforce, Amazon and Nirvanix offer a real cloud; that is, connect to it, run apps or store stuff, but you don’t need to know much about how I give it to you. Other vendors simply sell “cloud” enabling technologies. That doesn’t make the vendor a “cloud” company. Would just like to see lines drawn between cloud providers and technology providers.
Great perspective on your part as well. I think it’s readily obvious that there’s a fair amount of market hype circulating around everything “cloud.” And from my customer interactions, there is a level of appreciation for our public viewpoint that cloud is a way of delivering IT services.
We do believe that there have to be end-to-end solutions where the idea of cloud moves to the background and the customer sees the benefits — lower overall costs. We are focused on bringing together the core and edge components that enable exactly that.