CIO Leadership, Cloud

Is Mother Nature the CIO of Planet Earth? Check out the clouds

It's but natural that IT evolved to the Cloud

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Cloud Computing: Hey, Hey, You, You, Get Off of My Cloud!, says Geoffrey Moore in LinkedIn where he shows two images: one of a natural cloud, and the other of the IT Cloud. There have been plenty of subtle and explicit references to cloud as a natural phenomenon in the context of cloud computing. Even so, Moore’s characterization triggered me to contrast the two conceptually, making me wonder what exactly Mother Nature had in mind when she created the beautiful landscape in the sky that we simply refer to as The Cloud! Just like she profiles applications, I wouldn’t be surprised if she is giving us some pointers by creating her cloud, her own way. Let us see if that is the case.

  • Perspective. It is interesting that we form our own impressions of what a given cloud mass represents. It could be favorite ice cream for a toddler, or a dream sequence backdrop for a movie director. Just like the varied points of view that the customer, CFO, IT practitioner, technologist and analyst have for the IT cloud.
  • Utilization. Clouds are systemic collections of water, evaporating into the atmosphere—a natural example of maximizing resource utilization. When things get too hot, excess resources evaporate into the cloud, which are then transferred in the form of rain to other more deserving parts of the landscape. Just like balancing the load by leveraging underused resources to address fluctuations in demand.
  • Virtualization. Mother Nature gives this illusion of something fluffy up in the sky that you can touch, feel and bounce on (possibly even take for a ride). The IT Cloud is no different. When you use a virtualized environment, you imagine that there is dedicated hardware, which is really not the case. You view an illusion of being on a platform, which is usually quite different from the native platform on the given server.
  • Convergence. What about those high altitudes where you see the cloud descend down on the Earth? This is the classic convergence of the Cloud and the traditional IT environments of bare metal hardware (just like mountainous rock formations). Mother Nature agrees that we need to converge the right cloud environments based on our requirements.
  • Turbulence. This is what we occasionally face when embarking on a journey through the clouds. It is also an apt metaphor for the challenges enterprises encounter when embarking on Transformation Journeys themselves—especially without a trusted advisor. If they are transforming to the Cloud, they should do it right. If not, they encounter turbulence, just like Mother Nature.

But then I think of the thunderstorm that we just had. It’s not the first time these very clouds have wreaked such havoc. Just like enterprises have to deal with the challenges of security, consumerization or governance triggered by the cloud—challenges that can even impact job descriptions!

What do you think? What messages do you perceive from Mother Nature? More importantly, what is the weather forecast for your IT landscape? Please let me know.

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