The Gartner Hype cycle research shows Cloud Computing as being on the peak of expectations… the very top of the hype bubble roller coaster.
Vendors are looking for something to sell, and the consolidation of the data center, reducing operational cost and economy of scale are as convenient of an excuse as anything. There are some fundamental technologies as well that will make a big difference such as Virtualization.
Is computing becoming a utility?
When someone refers to cloud, the etymology of the term should be examined. This term comes from the days of network diagramming, and a cloud was an abstraction for the network. Basically whenever someone didnt feel like drawing all of the network entities, they would just draw a puffy white cloud. In essence the puffy white cloud is shorthand for “don’t worry your pretty little head about this stuff”.
In doing so, one hands over both control and visibility to a third party.
If your cloud provider fails, then you fail. Unless of course your cloud provides non-essential services. Don’t count on it. Large scale failures such as Gmail recently point out some of the flaws in “don’t worry your pretty little head”. You better start worrying your pretty head. Failures aren’t the only problem implicit in the cloud, the lack of transparency can lead to privacy failure. No SLA can ensure privacy, just ask the customers of UBS Bank in Switzerland.
So are there things that a business should not have to worry our heads about? (whether they are pretty or ugly or little or big)
Of course. At the risk of using the most tired analogy in Cloud Computing, we take our electricity and water as a utility. Of course any organization of sufficient size knows that backup generators may be needed. Or even emergency water supplies.
Now reading all this, you may think you know where I’m going with this “Cloud Bubble” thing. After all, vendors are our cloudwashing all of their products and the potential for an economic bubble is pretty large. but I am actually thinking of a different cloud bubble.
An Architectural bubble.
Much like the idea that everything can be viewed from a single point of view did not work for the SOA era, the idea that everything is in the cloud is equally preposterous. This is a legitimate perspective, as I said in my talk at the Burton Group Catalyst conference it is the perspective of Mr. Magoo.
Cloud folks need to understand that while cloud is their entire business, it is not and will not be the entire business of IT.