Technology, Cloud, Services

Does Cloud computing still exist?

Has the growing ubiquity of cloud computing reached a tipping point for IT and line of business?

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I ask not because I doubt what most people refer to as cloud – XaaS where X is anything from infrastructure, platform, software or who-knows-what – certainly that exists and is growing rapidly.  I’m delighted to see the recent research – highlighted by John Dodge in this blog just a couple of days ago – pointing to “broad and rampant” cloud use in enterprises.

So, clearly cloud computing as it has been called up to know does exist.  What I’m really trying to ask here is this:  Does any other kind of enterprise computing exist anymore, and if it does how long will that last?

In the 40+ years since I wrote my first lines of COBOL and RPG I’ve seen enterprise computing redefined several times, from mainframe to distributed to client server and now back through server virtualization to what resembles the mainframes of my early career.  You could say the earliest implementations were cloud computing with highly virtualized mainframes running every enterprise application in a single box, with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) as the only client computing there was.  Dumb terminals just captured keystrokes and displayed characters in a neat 25x80 display with no graphics and blazing speeds of 4800 bps between mainframe and remote user.

So here we are four decades removed, and what we just called “computing” then is quickly becoming the latest best thing in the datacenter (which is being re-branded as the private cloud) and at the service providers offering everything-as-a-service (who have already been re-branded as the public cloud).

Whatever definition of The Cloud you use – and Jamal Khawaja’s blog post had some great ones – a few things that define cloud for me are simplified provisioning, self-service deployment of some kind and Multitenancy whether intra- or inter-company.  I don’t see any of those going away any time soon, and so what we call cloud computing today is probably the norm for enterprise computing going forward.

So back to the original question – isn’t cloud computing already just “computing”?  What do you think?


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Doug Goddard 123 Points | Mon, 09/30/2013 - 12:46

Unless I misinterpreted the "broad and rampant" study it should have had a few qualifiers attached such as broad and rampant adoption of non-core, consumer like services. There didn't seem to be many core, bet your business type services alluded to in the study.

John Dodge 1535 Points | Mon, 09/30/2013 - 12:50

That is true....seemed to be largely social media and e-mail. However, I bet those in enterprise social media departments (community managers like me, for instance) would label those apps "core."

Doug Goddard 123 Points | Mon, 09/30/2013 - 12:59

Yes, I was thinking of organaizations such as banks and such. Do you know of any banks who have put their ATM systems on the public Cloud yet?

John Dodge 1535 Points | Mon, 09/30/2013 - 13:08

In the main, no. But I blogged here a while back about a bank that was setting up in the cloud. And aren't financial networks really private clouds?

I also wonder about forward thinking companies like Scottrade, which has its own bank.

Paul Calento 255 Points | Mon, 09/30/2013 - 03:43

There's still a shortage of cloud computing skills. According to John Dodge, an IDC report revealed that 1.7 million cloud jobs went unfilled in 2012, so I don't think it's a the "just computing" stage just yet. Sure, it defines the modern enterprise, but not every application should be in the cloud.

--Paul Calento

(note: I work on projects sponsored by and HP)