2009: The Year of the “Cloud”

As we roll towards the Christmas break it’s that time of year when everyone starts to predict the big tech trends for 2010: what’s going to be the ‘next big thing’ that’s going to change our lives? (So the IT press will have us believe anyway). Before we move into 2010, let’s review 2009!

One of this year’s tech trends has to be ‘cloud computing’. The cloud managed to hit the headlines of the IT press in a big way!

But is Cloud really new? For me the term is new but the science behind it isn’t! We’ve been working on this sort of thing for a long, long time. The difference is that this long established technological theory is now delivered on today’s ‘platform of choice’ the X86 generation. The theory really isn’t anything different from what we’ve all been doing with a mainframe for the last 30 years! Let me explain…think of a mainframe as the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service). IaaS in its basic form is the utilisation of virtualisation within the data centre – mainframes have been virtualised for years! OK, so the delivery was through a ‘dumb’ terminal – the green screen, BUT the software itself could potentially be delivered as a ‘bureau’ service – SaaS (Software as a Service). This could all be wrapped up as a ‘pay-as-you–grow’ service; you just switch on more ‘MIPS’ (million instructions per second). So really the cloud just covers old ground but with a fresh outlook that maximises returns. You can’t argue that the fundamentals are at least very similar.

Another feature of the cloud is the ‘network’ capability, which allows access from anywhere, anytime. This instantly makes me think back to Sun Microsystems marketing message in the 90’s: ‘the network is the computer’. The difference with cloud computing is the orchestration of today’s computing from the virtualised ‘x86’ engine room through the shop window (Platform-as-a-Service) that is ‘web services via the browser’. The cloud provides the capability to connect quickly and reliably at work, home or on the move, through for example next generation mobile technology.

So let’s look ahead to 2010, I definitely believe that Cloud hype will continue but will start to mature. People will finally start to leverage the potential business value of it and overcome the concerns that are holding them back, such as security and compliance. There will still be people rebadging partially vitualised IT estates as “The Cloud”, but increased cloud adoption means money will be put into developing offerings rather than just running solutions – thus the theory will become a reality… Much more on 2010 next time… 🙂

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