Monday, April 9, 2012

Is The Cloud Today's Dot-Com?

Here is what Wikipedia says about the dot-com bubble:

Venture capitalists saw record-setting growth as dot-com companies experienced meteoric rises in their stock prices and therefore moved faster and with less caution than usual, choosing to mitigate the risk by starting many contenders and letting the market decide which would succeed. The low interest rates in 1998–99 helped increase the start-up capital amounts. Although a number of these new entrepreneurs had realistic plans and administrative ability, many more of them lacked these characteristics but were able to sell their ideas to investors because of the novelty of the dot-com concept.

Is today's cloud phenomena a mirror image of the dot-com boom of the mid-1990s? IDC estimates that spending on IT public cloud in 2011 was $28 billion. It is already having an economic impact on the technical marketplace. Furthermore, IDC estimates that last year alone, IT cloud services helped organizations of all sizes and all vertical sectors around the world generate more than $400 billion in revenue and 1.5 million new jobs. In the next four years, the number of new jobs will surpass 8.8 million.

Interesting enough, IDC's estimates did not include organizations that host their own internal private cloud for their business partners which I believe will be a very significant part of the future industry. 

The basic rationale for job growth is that IT innovation allows for business innovation, which leads to business revenue, which leads to job creation.

That is why Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said it is betting its future on cloud computing. Nobody wants to be left out of the estimated 1.1 trillion dollar increase in business revenue from IT innovation enabled by the cloud by 2015. This is clearly seen by the number of cloud management platforms surfacing in the past few years.

Cloud Management Platforms
  • Abiquo
  • Adaptive Computing MOAB Suit
  • ASG Cloudfactory
  • BMC Cloud Lifecycle Management
  • CA Automation Suite for Clouds
  • Cisco intelligent Automation for Clouds
  • Citrix CloudStack
  • Cloupia Unified Infrastructure Controller
  • Dell Virtual Integrated System
  • DynamicOps Cloud Automation Center
  • Embotics V-Commander
  • enStratus Cloud Management
  • Flexiant Extility
  • Fluid Operations eCloudManager
  • Gale Technologies Galeforce
  • HexaGrid VxDatacenter
  • HP Cloud Service Automation
  • IBM/Platform ISF
  • IBM Service Delivery Manager
  • ManageIQ EVM Suite
  • Microsoft System Center
  • Nimbula Director
  • NetIQ Cloud Manager
  • Red Hat CloudForms
  • RightScale
  • ServiceMesh Agility Platform
  • Virtustrea/Enomaly Elastic Cloud Platform
  • VMware vCloud Director
But is this sustainable? Some of these companies will be successful, but at this early stage there are already 28 cloud management platforms. IT leaders need to be cautious about the partners they select as they start the journey into cloud computing, several of them will not survive.

For companies that take the time to understand cloud computing their are clear benefits. Gartner comes to this conclusion in its recent document Defining Cloud Computing, the cloud is making strong inroads into IT, and this trend is likely to accelerate — so understanding the cloud is important. There's a lot of confusion about the cloud, but the confusion is unnecessary. Cloud computing has a clear definition, well-defined characteristics, and a simple three-tier architecture. It has distinct delivery models and benefits. Its risks, although important, can be enumerated and, in many cases, managed. 

The impact of the cloud over the next 3 to 5 years is going to be dramatic for business revenue, job opportunities, and innovation. But,  the big payoffs are for companies that adopt the principles of cloud computing, learning to change their mindset to be more business oriented through the consumerzation of infrastructure resources. Companies will start to define the value of the services it provides within infrastructure and operations which will help IT leaders with realistic costs of operating their IT datacenters.

For that reason alone, although today's cloud industry shows characteristics of the dot-com boom, the emergence of cloud computing will create a technology marketplace that is going to help corporate executives have a better understand of the benefits IT provides the organization, and provide them the opportunity to deliver services with a "business" mindset.

Andrew Mcafee from the Harvard Business Review writes that cloud computing is “ . . . a sea change – a deep and permanent shift in how computing power is generated and consumed.  It’s as inevitable and irreversible as the shift from steam to electric power in manufacturing, which was gaining momentum in America about a century ago.”

The dot-com boom started in 1994 with, Amazon also started the first public cloud offering by leasing spare datacenter capacity in 2002.

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