The cloud is hot, no matter how you define it. Just how hot the cloud is, and what it’s good and not so good for, was the focus of an interview I did with cloud application performance monitoring vendor Boundary the other week.
For marketers, the takeaway is that there’s no one “cloud.” The number and type of cloud services will continue to explode, and explaining the competitive differentiator for each type of cloud service and tool will become more important.
I’m curious to hear your take, as marketers and industry observers, on some of my observations. They included:
- Continued growth of the cloud will be driven as much by agility as by cost savings.
- The boundaries between infrastructure as a service, software as a service, platform as a service, and “You name it as a service” (security, management, storage, backup, etc.) will blur as providers slice and dice their offerings to meet the precise needs of just about any user.
- The answer to “Is the public cloud safe/reliable enough?” is “it depends” on which private clouds you’re it comparing. A “too big to fail” bank should (we hope) be able to maintain an ATM network at least as solid as Amazon’s infrastructure. If you’re a struggling mid-market manufacturer cutting costs on the IT side, you might be better off trusting Amazon. Then, of course, there’s the difference between dedicated infrastructure in the cloud and a true, multitenant public cloud.
- Look for consolidation at the top of the cloud service provider food chain and creative new business models from the bottom. At the high end, it’s all about economies of scale to fine-tune the delivery of jobs of servers, storage and network capacity most reliably and inexpensively. At the bottom end, startups with hot developers (with dreams of IPOs in their eyes) will leverage open source software to create “anything as a service” business model we haven’t dreamed of yet.
- With the growth of open source software and frameworks, more and more cloud providers will build (a la Facebook and Google) more and more of the technology they need. This, of course, raises interesting questions about the future of the proprietary software vendors who pay many of our bills.
- For customers, the first challenge is figuring out how to use cloud is determining which IT-related functions are “core” (and worth keeping inside) and what are “context” and worth buying as a service if someone else can do them better.
I ended on one of my hobby horses, which is that as great as the cloud is, local client devices like PCs with their own storage won’t go away anytime soon. Until I can instantly get reliable, high-speed Web access anywhere, anytime, I want the work I need to get done today on my local hard drive.
You can read the full interview here. I’m curious to hear whether you think it’s getting harder to market the cloud, and how you’re approaching it.
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