Cloud computing is currently at the peak of its hype cycle. You can tell because the polarisation of opinions is becoming increasingly intense. There are some companies that will now add cloud to literally everything, and those that think they have seen it all before. The latter group are the ones that will ignore cloud computing and wait until the hype begins to die down and normal service resumes. But, what if it doesn’t?
Thinking that cloud computing is a ’fad’ is missing the point; cloud computing is the natural technological evolution of IT infrastructure. Technology does many things for us but its main benefits are in ripping out inefficiency, creating new opportunities and removing barriers to entry. No one can really argue that the IT model up until now, of relentless purchasing of computing hardware and storage is efficient. Especially when, pre-virtualisation, companies only really used between 15-25% of the processing power they’d bought. Legacy wastage is profligate. Add to that the hugely dissatisfying physical IT process, and you can see that we are ripe for a change.
In these times of stringent cost control the last thing any business wants to do is spend hard earned cash unnecessarily. Luckily, the agile nature of cloud computing means it can track your consumption up and down so IT budgets actually fall into line rather than being the “field of dreams” of the past.
It is true that picking your way through nebulous cloud terminology can be a harrowing experience and enough to turn the most ardent enthusiast cynical. Choosing the right solution requires a clear head and a belief in what you know and nothing else. You don’t have to “embrace the cloud” or “not care where the cloud is”. You simply have to ask the right questions: Where is my data? Are those real appliances? Are there hidden charges for data transfer? How do you secure it? Can I make any server any size I want? Is the network free?
None of these questions are new. They are the same ones you would ask if you were building the finest data centre money could buy. A little dose of reality and pragmatism is all that’s needed. I have seen multiple virtualisation revolutions. Communications and connectivity are the biggest and there is always the same outcome; faster, better and cheaper wins every time.
Yes, it’s a revolution within IT, but as IT is a relentless vehicle for change its advancements quickly affect the world beyond the data centre. Look at Blockbuster and Kodak for example. People quickly embrace anything that makes life easier, internet movies and digital cameras brought us on demand films and photos that the old physical model couldn’t match and left old business models struggling to survive. Adapting to new technology doesn’t mean leaving common sense behind or burning your beliefs. It simply means life becomes a whole lot easier. By all means put on ear defenders to block out the hype, but don’t ignore the underlying innovation. Give it a try, and then decide for yourself.
Matthew Finnie drives the company’s advanced services strategy, including developing the platform that has allowed the company to launch its industry-leading VOIP, Ethernet and Media products. Trained as an electrical engineer, he helped develop early IP-product innovations, including one of the first commercial applications of VOIP a decade ago.