IT's a Cloudy Picture

How many other people are tired of here how "Cloud Computing" [and all it's various forms of "as a Service"] are changing the landscape of IT - and only those companies that embrace it right now and 100% will survive.

Well, I don't buy it. I do believe there is a change, it's been happening over the past 60 or so years - it's called computing. And with computing, just like everything, it changes over time. In college, we fed punch cards into the computer for our programming class [I didn't do well - one typo or card out of order and you were hosed]. Most people today don't even know what DOS stands for, let alone how to use it.

Computing changes, and the rate of change is getting faster and faster. How many people trust a research report from last year? Or a business plan that hasn't been updated in over 18 months? Data gets old fast. And the only way to stay in front of that curves is to continuously refresh your data - who has time to worry about the underlying "code" or application?

Enter the world of "software as a service" or "infrastructure as a service" - where the companies don't worry about making sure the application or server or storage or network is updated, they just worry about their "data". Which is where we begin to look at risk...

Who bears the risk of the application being available, or having something process properly? That's the service provider. The client worries about having the right data, not whether they have the latest version of the software or all the patches for the server operating system or any number of "infrastructure" related items - the service provider bears that risk - not the client.

So, Cloud Computing is more about shifting RISK from the Client to the Service Provider...
  • The RISK of having enough [computing power, storage, network capacity, etc.]
  • The RISK of having the most current applications version, or operating system, or security, or drivers, etc.
  • The RISK of having purchased too much of something, because you're buying for Peak usage, instead of normal usage.
  • The RISK of having having your budget blown before you even start the new year

But by shifting these risks, you just create new ones [that you controlled before]...

  • The RISK of not purchasing the "enhanced" service level, just to save a buck or two
  • The RISK of having a service provider "over subscribe" their services, because now they have to measure and plan capacity better
  • The RISK of having a service provider be sold, acquired, go out business, etc.
  • The RISK of being held hostage by your Service Provider - and what was a great rate three years ago, keeps going up and up - and there is no way to "replace" them now

This shifting of risk from one person/company to another is just the inevitable ebb and flow of our computing cycle. Ask Twitter. They were a cloud computing poster child - using AWS for compute and storage. That's how the got their start and it worked until they became wildly popular - then AWS couldn't keep up and Twitter had little capacity on their own. Now, they are building their own data center - taking back their control - taking on a different kind of RISK.

This is not new, it's just different.


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