Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Cloud is Crossing the Chasm

Cloud Computing is crossing the chasm. Every other week you hear about the deployment of Cloud Computing applications to thousands of users by leading corporations and governments. These deployments go hand in hand with the announcement of new Cloud offerings by leading technology vendors and service providers. You can still find disagreements about the size of the market or the actual definition but there is no doubt that Cloud Computing is having a great year and the best is yet to come. These are some of the many news/announcements that caught my eye:

1) This is a couple of months old but I have to mention Oracle's acquisition of Sun. It was interesting to see Oracle make the move after all the talk about IBM buying Sun. But the implications to the industry are far more intriguing. How is this acquisition going to impact HP? Will IBM see any impact from Oracle 'owning' Java? Will ORCL be able to manage Hardware and Software effectively? Oracle has been a bit slow to announce a compelling Cloud strategy. Sun made a late announcement about their software strategy and more recently another one about consulting services for the Cloud. This is an intriguing combination, it might seem like the odds are against them but you should never underestimate Oracle.

2) TIBCO launches TIBCO Silver an application development platform for AMZN's AWS. I'm intrigued by this announcement. Although some have labeled it "Amazon for Dummies" I'm curious to see if TIBCO will be able to leverage some of its sophisticated analytical technology for intelligent scaling and SLAs.

3) In close partnership with RedHat (RHT) Verizon (VZ) launched a new service offering called Computing as a Service (CaaS) "With CaaS, you have access to bandwidth, servers, storage, and firewalls with dynamic real-time control over what, when, and how those resources are deployed". This service will put pressure on traditional/smaller hosting providers looking to transition to the Cloud. It will also help enterprise customers feel more comfortable about embracing the Cloud.

4) The brilliant Ray Ozzie elaborates on Microsoft's view of the Cloud. You know it is serious when Microsoft gets serious about it. It is hard not to imagine a future with public and private clouds, unless of course, networking technology evolves to a point where the difference is irrelevant. Given MSFT's impressive footprint in the enterprise (Exchange, Sharepoint, SQL Server, etc.) they seem to be in a perfect position to dominate that hybrid world with Azure. If you can offer greater scalability, lower costs and greater flexibility leveraging the same skills and the technology you already have then you have a winning recipe. The question is "Will they be able to execute?"

5) CSC to offer cloud services. Now if it wasn't enough that Microsoft is dead serious about Cloud Computing, CSC one of the largest and most successful government contractors will leverage its security and strategy expertise to offer cloud services. I'm expecting Lockheed, EDS and others to follow with similar offerings. These services will certainly lower the risk for CIOs in the public sector.

6) More fuzzy math, this time courtesy of Gartner in one of their estimates for the size of the Cloud Computing industry. Inconsistent estimates are the consequence of inconsistent market definitions, I can see that. I just hope that there are no hidden agendas.

7) Google Apps is profitable and growing. Although not a direct replacement of MS Office, Google Apps continues to capture market share one enterprise customer at a time. Although mostly driven by cost savings in Email you can expect the adoption of Google Docs to increase as new and improved versions continue to roll out over the next year (including of course my favorites: App Engine and SDC).

With so much activity it is hard to believe that the best is yet to come but trust me, it is. Hang on tight.

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