Ask 10 people what Cloud computing is and you’ll probably get 8 different answers and 2 blank stares. Even in the face of a definition from NIST, Cloud computing is evolving too fast for any single expression of its capabilities or future. In the face of all this hype and excitement, let’s explore three things that Cloud computing is not:
1) The End of IT
Cloud computing does not spell the end for IT, instead if defines a new opportunity. The reality is Cloud computing is highly complex and continues to evolve at lightening speed. Regardless of how much automation is built into the Cloud, it will never be perfect and someone must understand how everything works and, more importantly, how to fix it! Over the next few years, new IT skill-sets are going to be need especially within the areas of software. Gone are the days of inflexible systems across compute, networking, and storage. Today’s modern systems are extensible, extremely powerful, open, and require software development and/or troubleshooting savvy.
Virtualization is not a new technology nor is it the centerpiece of Cloud computing. Instead, virtualization is simply an enabling technology that is helping to break the stranglehold of x86 Operating Systems and Application Architecture. It is a “bridge” technology that is relevant within a world that is run on legacy software, which is closed, and proprietary. Virtualization gave organizations the ability to say “no” to these proprietary vendors and consolidate servers and applications across a common platform. As Cloud computing evolves, what type of virtualization and who supplies the technology will become less and less important.
3) The Last Paradigm
Sadly, Cloud computing will not be the final IT paradigm or IT inflection point. In IT, what’s old becomes new again and what’s new becomes old pretty fast. For those of us that lived through distributed computing, centralization, Web x.0, ASPs, and more we’ve seen this movie before. In fact, because Cloud computing is in its infancy, there are plenty of disruptive and innovative models to come. The exciting paradigm shifts will come once the software industry finally embraces new architectures and new languages are created to take advantage of new computing paradigms. In other words, when the “innovators dilemma” gives way to the next great billion dollar software companies.
Since the only thing constant in IT is change, history will be the judge of what Cloud was and was not.