Estimated reading time: 3 mins
Cloud Computing is here, and it is somewhat of a revolution. It brings many benefits to our organizations – the obvious economic, but it also frees us up to focus on core business, as defined today. If managing infrastructure isn’t our core activity, then let’s not do it, right?
All the in-crowd on the web are buzzing about Cloud Computing. 2009 is hailed as the year of the Cloud, as recession bites forcing IT leaders to source infrastructure services from remote vendors and reducing expense and capital requirements. Here are two informative examples on bmighty which talks a lot about Cloud:
It sounds like a dream state, don’t it?
Well not if we consider the long-term implications. By sourcing infrastructure from the cloud, you’re really taking, or forcing, a commodity approach . To gain economies of scale (the economies you’re looking for and demand) vendors have to commoditize the infrastructure, in other words, make the service standard and equal across their customers (notwithstanding any standard variations or special amendments that come at a price.)
Essentially, we’re giving up our intimacy with the operations and mechanics of the infrastructure – it becomes a black box to us. What happens is that we lose the knowledge and wisdom on how to build and maintain the infrastructure ourselves.
Who cares? I get it cheaper… and I need cheap right now!
Yes, we’re all thinking that way right now. Right Now . But what about After? Once the recession ends and growth is a word we can begin to use again, what is the landscape then?
We don’t get our toys back, that’s for sure! You know as I do, things move on and the compound of many small innovations results in big change. We lost the intimacy now, we lose it forever. And even if we could muster our own internal revival of building and maintaining the infrastructure, it’s very doubtful we could do it as economically, so the CFO wouldn’t back our caper.
Pah! So What? You might say…. but just consider the possibility that your management of infrastructure, your innovations using it, and how you blend infrastructure into product development and operations actually creates a unique business proposition – lose it and weep. Or perhaps retaining control means you retain independence, and you’ve developed kick-ass negotiation skills with vendors – do you want to dilute these skills. Or lets say that your organization is rapidly growing into new territories that vendors can’t/won’t provide the same level of support – is that likely?
In revolutions, heads roll . Heed my warning that Cloud Computing is very likely a one-way road over the Sahara Desert…
Once you source from the cloud, you will never regain it as a core competence.
I am not against Cloud, if you were wondering. In fact I think it is essential for the future of IT and business. It’s not viable to run activities as crafts and cottage industries anymore. Business must be lean and stitch its organization together from the very best of experts and services.
I could draw analogies to the outsourcing of manufacturing to China. The West outsourced… gave China the knowledge (designs, tools, etc)… and then surprise surprise – a shift in Chinese Foriegn Policy and they’re poised to become the dominant power and economy on this planet!