Virtualization Continues To Be An Important IT Trend

Virtualization, while not a new trend, is an important IT trend for 2011.  It will continue to transform IT infrastructures, impacting servers, storage, desktop, and applications in 2011.

Virtualization is one of the best ways to get more business value from an IT infrastructure. Virtualized infrastructures are popular not only for cost savings, but because they can enable quick changes to business models, operating structures and the way that business processes are enabled.  By decoupling logical resources from physical assets, virtualization can empower an exceptionally swift response to changing business conditions or changing business strategies.  In addition, a highly virtualized infrastructure is a prerequisite for private clouds (See Cloud Computing In 2011: Private Clouds Are An Important Trend) so CIOs will continue to focus on virtualization.   

Adoption Drivers: 

  • Desire to reduce IT operational costs,
  • Desire to move towards cloud model.
  • Networks and servers are better equipped to handle this technology.

Inhibitors to Adoption:

  • New roles & responsibilities,
  • Security of virtualized environment,
  • Requires more sophisticated virtualization Management and Utilization techniques

Implications:

  • IT Departments must understand their environment completely and this requires good communications between IT and Business Leaders
  • Security becomes more complex in a virtualized environment. It become more difficult to manage and make sure every asset is utilized efficiently.
  • Enterprises should thoroughly evaluate how business processes, administrative rights, capacity planning, performance monitoring tools and security strategies will need to change.

Analyst Quotes

“The next "big thing" will be automating the composition and management of the virtualized resources”. – Gartner (Link)

“Server virtualization is the 'killer app' for the datacenter and has forever changed IT operations” – IDC (Link)

“Virtualization will continue as the highest-impact issue challenging infrastructure and operations through 2015, changing how you manage, how and what you buy, how you deploy, how you plan and how you charge.” – Gartner (Link)

For More Information

Over the last 3-4 years we’ve seen server virtualization really take off as a trend and now it is almost standard technology in the data center.  While security concerns remain a hurdle to deployment, we’ll continue to see a focus on virtualization across the entire infrastructure in 2011. 

Cloud Computing Is Enabling The Next Phase Of The Internet Evolution

Carlota Perez wrote a book titled “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital” (2002) that is a real interesting read.  Perez says that there have been five historical waves of economic and social transformation in the developed economies of the world. Each of these waves have what she calls an Installation phase followed by a crash of some sort and then a Deployment period. 

HorizonWatching - Carlota Perz 5 Waves

Perez says that our global economy has now entered the deployment phase of the fifth technology investment cycle, which she says is the Age of Information and Telecommunications (see embedded picture).  Perez says that this will be a period of adjustment when novel business models will exploit the new IT infrastructure that is now being put in place that enable more porous, open, collaborative approaches that seek to leverage the economics and flexibility of global sourcing.  She expects enterprises of all sizes will employ technology to help them transform their business models, processes and operations.

As mentioned, Perez says we are entering this Deployment phase. As we do there are some key characteristics across our global economy that is impacting how this phase develops. The firms that will succeed are the firms that will embrace these characteristics and the change that is happening in order to innovate and leapfrog competition.

Important characteristics of our global economy includes:

  • A level, global economic playing field presents new opportunities, challenges and competitive technologies
  • New technologies, services and skills are emerging…and they are quickly being integrated into every aspect of business and everyday life
  • The pace of change is dramatically compressing “windows of opportunity” for real competitive advantage.
  • Billions of skilled people are entering the world’s economy, fundamentally transforming the mix of the global workforce
  • The interconnected nature of our world’s economy means businesses must be prepared to respond to – and capitalize on – changes in real time, with unprecedented flexibility.

While all this is happening, we are moving into what I believe is the third stage of the Internet. Call it Web 3.0 or whatever you wish, but cloud computing is perhaps the most important technology.  In fact, I believe that cloud computing is the key enabling technology for this next technological wave and the next phase in the evolution of the Internet.

HorizonWatching - Private Clouds Enables Next Wave of the Internet

Back in the mid to late 1990s companies were just concerned with getting websites up so they could have a presence on the Internet. It was all about providing very basic information to the public. But soon the so called e-commerce trend arose and business was being conducted on the Internet. Then Web 2.0 came into play and all users realized that they could share their ideas, create content, and collaborate online.  We are now well into this next phase of the evolution where the enabling technologies will be cloud, analytics, mobile, video, and semantic capabilities.  This so called Web 3.0 phase will provide applications that are much more immersive, social, and collaborative in nature.  Combined that with an explosion of networked sensors and advanced predictive analytic and all the Smarter Planet initiatives will become a reality. 

But the most important enabler will be the combination of private and public cloud computing infrastructures that will be the ‘engine’ of the future Internet.

Cloud Computing In 2011: Private Clouds Are An Important Trend

The cloud computing ‘buzz’ has been going on now for 3 years. IBM Cloud White Papers Benefits include reduced costs, improved service delivery and an enablement of business innovation.   Public clouds have been a major part of the discussion and experimentation.  However, many CIOs and business leaders are concerned with having their data residing outside their firewall.   So, in 2011, I expect we’ll see more companies adopting approaches to private clouds in parts of their businesses.  

Adoption Drivers

  • Commoditization and standardization of technologies,
  • Virtualization and the rise of service-oriented software Architectures,
  • Dramatic growth in popularity/use of the Internet and the Web.

Adoption Inhibitors

  • Bandwidth, Complexity, Standards, Security, Privacy, Compliance, Performance, Loss of Control of Data outside the firewall.

Analyst Perspective

As can be seen by the quotes below, more companies have begun adopting approaches to private clouds in parts of their businesses.  Analysts agree that enterprises will be interested in learning more about how to leverage private clouds within their own ecosystems.

“Almost one-quarter of the infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals polled in our Forrsights Hardware Survey, Q3 2010 said that building a private cloud is a high or critical priority for them. Five percent said it is critical.” – Forrester Research (Link)

“According to recent IDC survey results, almost half of respondents, 44%, are considering private clouds.” – IDC (Link)

“The cloud market is evolving rapidly, with 39 percent of survey respondents worldwide indicating they allocated IT budget to cloud computing as a key initiative for their organization” – Gartner (Link)

“Private clouds’ are a natural next step in the evolution of data centers over the last ten years, toward consolidated, virtualized and automated IT service delivery environments.” – Frank Gens, IDC (Link)

“there is still some lingering apprehension over issues like integration, availability, security, and costs. These concerns, and how they are addressed by IT vendors, will continue to guide the adoption of cloud computing over the next several years.” – IDC (Link)

So the analysts agree that a growing number of organizations are turning to clouds to manage basic applications. Core business apps, IT infrastructure services, analytics, and app dev/test/deploy are next in line. However, as mentioned, since CIOs and business leaders are concerned with having their data residing outside their firewall, 

What To Expect In 2011

  • Expect to see mid and large-sized businesses to increase their experimentation and implementation of private clouds as the promise of the cloud delivery model is one that is just too good to pass up. 
  • There’s also a growing interest in private ‘community clouds’ hosted for a group of organizations who trust each other.
  • Something else to watch out for this year is how cloud computing will impact the mobile infrastructure and ecosystems in 2011.

Since cloud is a disruptive new way to deliver software & services, cloud will enable both new opportunities as well as new competitors in all areas of business.

For More Information

CIOs: Social Computing Is The Most Risky Emerging Technology

IBM recently published it’s 2010 Global Risk Study and the findings confirm that IT leaders today are very concerned about IT security and business resiliency.  The report found that 88% of those surveyed say that their company’s approach to risk is less than expert.  This comes at a time when there are increasing demands on IT leaders to accelerate their implementation of emerging technologies like cloud computing and social computing.

IBM surveyed 560 IT managers and CIOs from all types of companies located all over the world to talk in order to understand issues surrounding IT risks from the perspective of IT leaders.  IBM wanted to understand what their biggest obstacles are, where their biggest challenges lie, where they see the greatest potential for adding business value.

What caught my eye was a couple of questions in the survey that dealt with the risk involved with implementing emerging technologies.  Respondents to the survey were asked how their organization is positioned to acquire and deploy five emerging technologies

  1. Social computing/networking tools
  2. Mobile platforms
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Virtualization
  5. Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Of these five technologies, social networking, mobile platforms and cloud computing were rated the most risky emerging technologies.    Social networking tools (64% respondents) came out on top as the technology that posed the greatest risk.  Second was mobile platforms (54%) followed by cloud computing (43%).  See the graph of the survey results below.

IBM Risk Study 2010  

According to the survey report, IT leaders say that the risks of these emerging technologies include issues related to accessibility, use and control of data (especially regarding social computing/networking), and the danger of having unauthorized access to confidential, proprietary information.

It’s not surprising that social networking/computing technologies is perceived as a risky emerging technology.   Most enterprises are still trying to figure out how to leverage social computing and extract business value.  There needs to be a greater focus by IT and Business leaders on establishing social computing processes, methods, and professional roles.   Once this is done, the risks can be minimized and social networking tools can be fully integrated into the IT infrastructure and business process workflow.

For More Information

Get the report  The evolving role of IT managers and CIOs Findings from the 2010 IBM Global IT Risk Study

Browse for more related information at the IBM Smarter Security & Resilience website.

Ten Popular IBM Smart Service Oriented Architecture SOA Articles

IBM SOA Newletter - July I’m on a distribution list for the IBM Smart SOA and BPM Newsletter, which is a great newsletter (it received a 2009 Hermes Award in the e-newsletter category). 

The June 26, 2010 newsletter had a number of interesting articles, including:

  • How agile companies create and sustain high ROI
  • Connect cloud and on-premise applications
  • Resources for smarter banking

However, the one article that caught my eye was an article titled “Top IBM Smart SOA articles”.  I’ve been interested in Business Process Re-Engineering topics since leading a early-mid 1990’s IBM team on a journey to rewrite and deploy new marketing management processes.  That was a multi-year effort that spanned every division and geography in IBM.  I learned a bunch from that experience about how to architect a business for marketing management processes.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) is a great tool that we did not have in the mid 1990’s.  SOA promises to create greater alignment between IT and line of business while generating more flexibility – IT flexibility to support greater business flexibility.   We all know that the explosion of the Internet is creating new business models and this is causing business processes to change faster and faster.  To be competitive, businesses requires the flexibility that SOA can provide. 

The article “Top IBM Smart SOA articles” provides a nice list of the most popular articles (as downloaded by readers).  The list covers a wide range of topics related to SOA and the articles are great reading for any business or IT leader that is passionate about improving business processes.  I’ve summarized the list here for you.

  1. Managing the complexity of business processes  This article discusses an approach to controlling the development and maintenance efforts for business processes by limiting their complexity.
  2. SOA and integration in the cloud bring agility and value down to earth.  Leveraging a cloud-based integration solution delivered as a service provides an easily scalable approach to business integration.
  3. Make a BPM business case and learn 11 habits for success
    Links to two new white papers that help you make a case for BPM and understand how to be successful.
  4. Getting started with BPM: Find the best entry point
    In this article, IBM describes three common entry points to BPM, helping you understand how to get started with BPM.
  5. Advanced case management and BPM: Better together
    This article describes two concepts and how they relate to each other 1) the value that business process management (BPM) brings to the knowledge worker, and 2) the value of the additional technology components behind advanced case management (ACM)
  6. Ideas for innovation from the Smart Work Jam
    This article provides an overview of the highlights and insights as harvested from the Smart Work Jam, where for 72 hours, more than 2,000 participants from 68 countries "jammed" with nearly 5,000 posts across seven topics around the topic of working smarter.
  7. Outperforming companies share new way of working
    This article summarizes findings from an IBM Institute for Business Value study called "A New Way of Working: Insights from Global Leaders."   The study was designed to find out what makes leaders more dynamic, collaborative and connected; and the common barriers that prevent them from working smarter.
  8. Making SOA governance fit your organization
    This article helps you tailor Service Oriented Architecture governance to your organization, with tips from a book by IBM authors, based on their experiences with customers. 
  9. How SOA can ease your move to cloud computing
    This article helps those of you wanting to get started with cloud computing.  It describes how taking time to set up your SOA environment can give you an important jump start on cloud computing.
  10. Serious games for smarter skills: The future of learning
    Gaming is only for play time.  this article describes how gaming technology can play a role in helping us improve business processes.

So if you are thinking your business processes need some re-engineering, I’d recommend taking a look at applying Service Oriented Architecture methodologies upfront.  SOA can provide your company with an architectural model for integrating business partners’, customers’ and suppliers’ services into an enterprise’s business processes.

You can access the online issue of the whole newsletter, IBM Smart SOA & BPM Newsletter – Vol. 43.  You can also access all back level issues of the newsletter via http://www-931.ibm.com/bin/newsletter/tool/parchive.cgi?nlId=10481 where you can also set up a subscription for yourself so you get the newsletter emailed directly to you every month.

Yankee Group: 2010 Predictions…From Crisis Comes Opportunity

Yankee Earlier this week Yankee Group released their report “From Crisis Comes Opportunity: Yankee Group's 2010 Predictions” and held a webcast where they presented their list of Top 2010 predictions.

Yankee points out that the economic crisis in 2009 proved a major obstacle for consumers, enterprises and network builders, and each has had to evolve to survive.   While we’ve been through some tough times, the changes from 2009 will create new opportunities all ecosystems, especially in the areas of cord-cutting, devices, cloud computing and network innovation.

The Yankee Group 2010 predictions are:

  1. Cord-cutting will double yet again in 2010. Consumers will continue to drop land-line phone service in favor of mobile, and mobile broadband replacement will accelerate.
  2. The bell tolls for device subsidies. Lower operator profits will prompt many new no-subsidy, no-contract plans from major network operators.
  3. Netbooks fall from grace. While netbooks won the battle for consumers’ hearts in 2009, they will ultimately lose the war, as notebooks will take on similar form factors and similar prices without such drastic compromises in processing power.
  4. Consumers drive more than 50 percent of enterprise smartphone purchases. Rampant consumerization of IT continues with the majority of wireless devices used for business purposes being purchased by employees themselves.
  5. Chrome OS powers a new class of Anywhere devices. Google’s browser-based OS won’t be a PC killer, but it will power a new range of must-have consumer devices.
  6. Cloudy IT sparks demand for clear management tools. One in three businesses will invest in a new class of cloud-based IT service management (ITSM) tools to manage hybrid IT infrastructures of physical and virtual assets.
  7. Upstart upsets the equipment vendor applecart. As LTE strategies are aggressively pursued in North America, Huawei will jump the Pacific and take an early lead as the predominant LTE equipment supplier.
  8. Enterprise trust lifts telcos to the top of the cloud. Service outages from Amazon, Google and others made clear that many cloud services aren’t yet up to par. Telcos will become trusted intermediaries between disparate cloud environments, offering service delivery, SLAs, federation, orchestration, security and more.
  9. Network innovation well runs dry. The telecommunications industry has long tapped start-ups and IPOs for innovation, but with venture funding on the steep decline, vendors will awaken to the fact that the start-up pipeline is broken.
  10. Telcos unite behind infrastructure sharing. Led by European trailblazers, sharing of both active and passive network assets will become the de facto business model for efficient telcos in both developed and emerging markets.
  11. U.S. network neutrality rules have domino effect worldwide. Decisions from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission will reverberate globally, and service providers will be forced to become more transparent about internal traffic management practices and their effects on end-users.

I’m embedding the Yankee Webcast:  2010 Predictions below. The webcast is about an hour long.  Slides are located here: slides (pdf).

Yankee Group 2010 Predictions

View more documents from Yankee Group.

TheStreet.com: Six Top Tech Trends for 2010

James Rogers recently posted his list of six top tech trends for 2010 at TheStreet.com. 

  1. Cloud Computing 
  2. China
  3. Green IT
  4. Tablets
  5. Healthcare IT
  6. Virtualization

Its a safe list and one I can’t disagree with.  All six of those topics will be important in 2010.

Rogers offers the reader lots more information on each of these trends.   Suggest you check out the article “Six Top Tech Trends for 2010

Sydney Morning Herald: Top 10 business technology trends for 2010

Here’s a perspective of of top 10 business technology trends from ‘down under’.  I found this article written by Simon Sharwood at the online version of the  Sydney Morning Herald.  Here’s a quick summary.

  1. Cloud computing.  The article says to watch out for three types of cloud services 1) software-as-a-service, 2) infrastructure as a service, and 3) internal clouds.
  2. Four big Microsoft upgrades.  1) Office 2010, 2) SharePoint 2010, 3) Exchange 2010, 4) Windows 7
  3. Virtualization.  This trend continues to evolve at an impressive pace.
  4. Biometric authentication.  This technology is ready for wider deployment in 2010.
  5. Next-generation firewalls.  Firewalls can now take over some of the functions of other security appliances.
  6. Employee-owned IT.   Employees bringing their own computers to work.
  7. Loyalty schemes.  This trend going mainstream in 2010.
  8. Solid state disks.  These disks are smaller, faster, cooler and use less power than conventional disks.
  9. Smart grids.  Allows power companies to predict demand more precisely, reducing waste.
  10. Hybrid servers.  Trend towards all-in-ones that pack a server, storage and other goodies needed to run business applications into a single box

It’s an interesting trends list.  Not all will be on my top 10 list, but all are good trends we should understand.  Check out the full article “Top 10 business technology trends for 2010

IDC: Top 10 Predictions for 2010

IDC Last week I attended the IDC Top Ten Predictions Conference Call.  It was hosted and delivered by Frank Gens, IDC Chief Analyst.  I do look forward to this call every year with anticipation and this year was one of the best calls I can remember from IDC.  The predictions were well thought out and Frank, as always, did a fantastic job of covering the trends in the time allotted.  Of course, there is a team of IDC analysts behind Frank that provided input into the trends and predictions.

Here are IDC’s Top Ten Predictions

  1. Growth will return to the IT industry in 2010.   IDC is predicting a  3.2% growth for the year, returning the industry to 2008 spending levels of about $1.5 trillion.
  2. Telecommunications to improve.  IDC says we should expect improved growth and stability in the worldwide telecommunications market, with worldwide spending predicted to increase 3%.
  3. Emerging markets will lead the IT recovery.   BRIC countries will grow 8–13%.
  4. Cloud computing.   IDC says that there will be a strategic battle for cloud platform leadership, new public cloud hot spots, private cloud offerings, cloud appliances, and offerings that bridge public and private clouds.
  5. Mobile Apps.  IDC predicts 2010 will be a watershed year in the ascension of mobile devices as strategic platforms for commercial and enterprise developers as over 1 billion access the Internet, iPhone apps triple, Android apps quintuple, and Apple's "iPad" arrives.
  6. Public networks   IDC predicts an aggressive evolution to fiber and 3G and 4G wireless. 4G will be overhyped, more wireless networks will become "invisible," and the FCC will regulate over-the-top VoIP.
  7. Socializing Business applications IDC says business applications will be ‘fused’ with social/collaboration software and analytics into a new generation of "socialytic" apps, challenging current market leaders.
  8. Sustainability.  Rising energy costs and pressure from the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference will make sustainability a source of renewed opportunity for the IT industry in 2010.
  9. Transformation Agenda.   IT will be an increasingly important lever for transformation initiatives. Smart meters and electronic medical records will hit important adoption levels.
  10. M&A.  IDC predicts a frenzy of M&A activity in the IT industry.

Here’s a video of Frank Gens delivering the top ten predictions on a YouTube Video

The conference call signals the real start of the predictions and trends list season for me.  IDC follows up this conference call with a number of calls in January and February, which I look forward to as well.

For those interested, you can access the replay of the IDC predictions conference call and presentation slides at the following URL:
http://w.on24.com/r.htm?e=178835&s=1&k=71B94A8BF46833DCC88477EE828281B7   Also, for a Q&A discussion regarding the predictions, you can visit the IDC eXchange blog at http://blogs.idc.com/ie/    The video shown above is at this URL http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-yAmGdemHI

Finally, I suggest you follow IDC through the predictions season, so go check out http://www.idc.com/research/predictions1

Saugatuck’s Latest Report on SaaS

image Saugatuck has released a new report “An Endless Cycle of Innovation: Saugatuck SaaS Scenarios Through 2014”.  This is the result of the fourth annual research program into SaaS by Saugatuck, which says that Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is a disruptive trend that is changing the fundamentals of business for both the user companies and for SaaS providers themselves.  

According to Saugatuck, the disruption apparently happens as part of a “multi-year “loop” cycle that reciprocates between users and providers, with each side influencing the other in unforeseen ways”.    Saugatuck says that many companies end up mismanaging SaaS implementations and this prevents those companies from being able to derive real competitive advantage from SaaS.   Likewise, many SaaS providers are not taking advantage of the global market for their solutions because they are tied into these ‘multi-year loops’.

The report released by Saugatuck attempts to understand how users, providers and ISVs interact during these multi-year loops through exploring a number of different scenarios. 

Here are some interesting highlights from the research that were provided via the press release

    • Despite impressive investments in SaaS development and adoption in different parts of the world, SaaS (and Cloud Computing) will not become the primary IT standard and practice by YE 2012.  SaaS will instead be primarily an important “agent of change” through this time period.  By YE 2014, however, SaaS (and Cloud Computing) will become integral to infrastructure, business systems, operations and development within all aspects of user firms, with variations in status and roles based on region and business culture.
    • Many traditional ISVs will be paralyzed by “strategic uncertainty” regarding SaaS and other software business models through YE 2012, opening more doors for more SaaS providers.  At the same time, the global economic situation will severely thin the ranks of existing, early-stage SaaS start-ups (especially those that are not cash-flow positive).
    • While few users will “swap out” existing core legacy applications and systems with SaaS solutions through YE 2012 – except in highly commoditized market and customer segments – SaaS solutions will become the de facto choice for the majority of user organizations that are replacing legacy applications or business systems as they reach the end of their useful lives, or when driven by other important business considerations (e.g., M&A activity).

There’s no question that SaaS is undergoing a fundamental shift in how software is acquired, used and paid for.  It is a very disruptive trend that will certainly continue, especially as the shift towards cloud computing.

This report is based off a web survey including 1,788 qualified user enterprise executives; interviews with 30 user enterprise executives with SaaS experience; and briefings with 25 SaaS vendors/providers.

The report is now available for purchase and downloading via Saugatuck’s web site.

Cloud Computing: What is it?

Cloud computing is an emerging buzzword in the IT industry.  An October 28, 2008 search on Google for the phrase “Cloud Computing” returned 19,300,000 hits.   So you can see there is ample hype on this topic.  The concept is not really all that new, but it is getting lots of play right now in the media.  And rightly so…because cloud computing (or whatever it ends up being called) is the future of IT.  

There has been much debate in our industry and in the media about what Cloud Computing really is.  Thousands of articles and blogs can be found on the web where authors have attempted to define what cloud computing is.  As a result, there is much confusion as to what cloud computing really is.  Every author ends up with a definition that benefits their offerings, their magazine, their blog, or in some cases, their analyst research report.  

When you evaluate all the definitions and listen to what CIOs are looking for out of their IT systems in the future, some common characteristics surface.  From all the research I've conducted, the best definition I can come up with is that entry level cloud computing is specified as a elastically scalable, virtualized system that is rapidly provisioned with flexible pricing models.  Lets look at these characteristics in a little more detail.
1. Flexible pricing:  Utility pricing, variable payments, pay-by-consumption and subscription models make pricing of IT services more flexible
2. Elastic scaling:  Resources scale up and down by large factors as the demand changes
3. Rapid provisioning:  IT and network capacity and capabilities are – ideally automatically – rapidly provisioned using Internet standards without transferring ownership of resources
4. Advanced virtualization:  IT resources from servers to storage, network and applications are pooled and virtualized to provide an implementation independent, efficient infrastructure

One other key characteristic about cloud computing that is very important.  The complexity of the systems behind the service is hidden from the end user.  The cloud service worries about delivering the resources needed to support the service.  What the user sees is a service that they need at the time they need it.  And that service should be simple.  Users don't need to worry about all the complexity that is required to deliver the IT service to them.  

Cloud computing is already a force for basic consumer applications.  An example is Google Maps.  Think of it.  When you go to Google Maps, you don't care about the IT complexity behind the scenes.  You don't have to worry about servers, software, or storage.  You are immediately immersed into the map itself.  And what a simple service it is to understand.   Add in all the capability to search for points of interest, drag, zoom in/out, and you have a very simple, yet powerful application that can be used by one person this hour, or scale up to handle a million users the next hour.

Cloud computing will move beyond the current consumer focus into the enterprise market.   Clouds will eventually enable hundreds of devices – cell phones, cars, or sensors in clothing, for example – to be the de facto interface to on-line resources and services.  Technologies supporting cloud – virtualization, automation, open standards, scalable storage and web-based computing – will allow corporate data centers to act with the efficiency of the Internet and at Web speed – faster, more nimble, and with flexibility.  And, it is a green technology model that reduces energy consumption by improving IT resource utilization, therefore requiring fewer servers to handle equivalent workloads.  

A key reason is that enterprises will adopt cloud computing is that it offers the promise of business agility.   Agility enables the business to respond quickly to customer requests for new products and services.  It also allows businesses to partner more quickly to reach new markets faster.  And it also allows businesses to quickly change in the face of competition.  

In today's fast world, new competitors, with innovative business models (e.g.  Google, Amazon, etc.), seem to be able to rapidly change their business.  To match these types of competitors, businesses must have business architecture and an IT infrastructure that is flexible enough to respond quickly to all opportunities and threats.  The emerging cloud computing concept enables businesses to become more agile because it offers the ability to get to market quickly, and with a lower capital expense.  It also assures that as demand increases, resources can be added incrementally, without the need for major architecture changes.

From an IT standpoint, business agility implies the ability to rapidly build and configure tailored solutions which span internal and external systems.  Cloud computing can enable the development of applications in real-time and then also enables them to be quickly deployed globally to any device from sensors to mobile device to PCs.  Once developed, Line of Business executives need those applications to execute in real-time, scaling to meet the needs of the business.   Follow on generations of applications must be able to handle increasingly higher amounts of data as the user base grows.  Once running, applications in the cloud offer non stop operation.  Users aren't burdened by hardware and Software upgrades.  

In the future, there will be all sorts of new types of services enabled because of computing clouds.  Services we can't even imagine right now.  The fact is that the more applications and services that are deployed in the cloud, the more opportunities there are to leverage services provided by others in the same or other clouds.

In future posts, we'll explore cloud computing in more detail, including the potential benefits of cloud computing as well as some of the adoption barriers.  

For more information on cloud computing, here are a couple links…
Economist Special Report on Cloud Computing, October 28, 2008:  http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12411882
IBM's chairman emeritus for the Academy of Technology, Irving Wladawsky-Berger talks about what cloud computing really is and why it's so vital today.  http://www.internetevolution.com/document.asp?doc_id=163365
Business Week August 2008 Special report on Cloud Computing:  http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2008/tc2008082_445669.htm
Wikipedia article on Cloud Computing  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Cloud Computing Resources

Here's a resource guide for those who want to learn more about Cloud Computing.  There is much more out there, but these links provide you enough reading so that you have an understanding what all the hype is about.

Let me know if you have other places you know about.  I'll take a comment below or an email. Thanks!

Also…if you have not seen it yet…you can check out my Primer on Cloud Computing

Analyst Reports/Articles

Business/Computer Media Publications

Podcasts/Videos:

  • Blogs/ Other

    Cloud Computing Conferences/Events

    Selected Vendor Websites