Cloud Computing (CC) is perceived to be a most disruptive force in the IT industry today, the most evaluated technology as per Gartner 2009 and is at “peak inflated expectation” in Hype cycle 2010.
Simplest definition of it is “CC allows users to use only a web browser to receive computing services via internet, also enabling users only to pay for services they actually use”. CC concept is as old as free email services like Hotmail, Yahoo mail. Reincarnation of CC is driven by advances in Virtualization technologies (like VMWare Xen etc), Web Technologies and Infrastructure technologies. Virtualization has evolved from Consolidation through Agility to Alternate sourcing (CC).
Clouds could vaporize if Security (Not less secure than ‘on premise’ but risk is high), Performance (Bandwidth, Latency), Compliance (SOX, HIPPA etc regulations scope not addressing Cloud) and Availability (Inevitable outages and its costly alternatives) challenges are not addressed effectively. Cloud vendors are positioning TCO as value where as many customers are looking business agility as driver. Cloud is still maturing and it is gauged on three fronts Elasticity (Slow vs Brisk, Large vs Granular), Service (Standard vs Custom) and Market (Closed vs Open).
OLAP applications have been adopting CC comparatively well, architectures are still evolving to address transaction processing. SOA and Integration capabilities are deemed to be key foundational competencies required for IT to be successful at CC.
Lets see some stats:- Market for public cloud products and services is estimated at $16B in 2010 growing to $56B by 2014(IDC). Gartner predicts cloud market be $150B by 2014 and Merillynch estimates $160B by 2011. Various acquisitions to align. Microsoft, Yahoo is building massive data centers in Quincy, WA. Google which currently controls 2% of all servers in world (1 million servers) plans to have upwards of 10 million servers in the next 10 years. Quick moves and acquisitions happening to capture CC potential opportunity. Ubiquitous computing is reality with Mobile web set take over Desktop web by 2015. Many organizations already embarking some sort of virtualization or private clouds, including The Hartford, a key step in one among of three approaches towards CC.
Looking at these statistics and moves of major player’s it is promising that CC not just a passing “Cloud”, for sure it is going to rain if not pour and certainly play a disruptive force days to come. CC has lot of challenges yet for c-level management and vendors before jumping onto “Cloud” Nine.