At the 4th International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo, held the first week of November, Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan compiled a survey of a group of CEOs and CTOs at cloud companies, and the topic and questions all had to do with “The State of Cloud Computing.”
I read with keen interest a story about the event and the differing opinions among cloud company bigwigs, and I thought I’d bring a few of the highlights your way. I was particularly fascinated by some of the answers of Lew Cirne, CEO and founder of New Relic. They are a competitor of Paid Monitor, and so I won’t give them too much space, but his answers to Geelan’s questions were right on the mark.
When Geelan asked: “What, in your view are the top two drivers of the adoption of cloud computing?” Cirne answered:
“By far the top driver is speed: speed to procure and provision infrastructure, platforms and applications. We see business demanding IT solutions in days, and traditional IT often can’t respond faster than in months. For example, an application development team in the business unit might need a server immediately to run a load test. The central IT team – burdened as they are with shrinking budgets and increased demands on their time – may respond with something like say ‘please fill out a form and we’ll procure that server for you and provision it. It should be ready in 4-6 weeks.’ Unable to wait that long, the team gets a cloud-based instance running on EC2 in 10 minutes.
“The second driver is financial. Enterprise IT organizations are tired of buying more hardware and software than they need with large cash outlays up front. The days of shelfware are almost over, and everybody benefits from that – except perhaps the shelfware vendor.”
I have long said that companies are getting fed up paying enormous sums for software that takes way too long to install – not to mention dealing with subsequent updates.
In another question, Geelan asked: “Which in your view are the top five companies in the cloud as at late Fall 2009?” Cirne responded by asking a completely new question and answer:
“The more interesting question is this: What are the top five companies that are having their world turned upside down because of the cloud? Historically, enterprise software companies have built out their business by taking heavyweight software ‘solutions’ to market with a large, expensive direct sales force.”
He continued: “This has been very expensive, and the customer has borne the burden of that cost. Now, enterprises are adopting cloud solutions because of their instant access and pay-only-for-what you use benefits, and this drives a totally different delivery model for the vendor. As the cloud totally changes go-to-market and deployment models for software vendors, the firms that are locked into the historical direct models will have significant challenges adapting to this new world order.” He noted that SAP, IBM Software Group, Oracle, HP and CA “will all have a very tough time changing their business models to provide viable cloud solutions for their customers.”
I think that this portends great changes ahead for these giants of our IT industry, and as more businesses embrace the cloud, the challenge will be greater for these giants to change, adapt or lose market share.
Oh, one more Q&A from the conference that I think is worth sharing. This time the answer comes from RightScale CEO Michael Crandell. The question: Who is NOT currently using the cloud, who maybe ought to be?
Responded Crandell: “Anyone who has not begun an effort to move the 40% of apps that are “low hanging fruit” — i.e. not highly security sensitive, transient demand, could benefit from quick deployment.”
What a brilliant answer! It addresses very real security concerns that companies have about migrating to the cloud, yet encourages them to do move ahead anyway.
For the full read on leading thinkers’ views of the future of cloud computing, read the story!