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Friday, December 11, 2009

The Cloud Adoption : Early Signs

Was in a closed door meet with some customers, influencers analyzing the state of the cloud computing market and the future directions including key players maturity, monetization and derivative impacts throughout the cloud landscape. The clear consensus was that we are set to enter a stage where increasing levels of outsourcing would be pointed towards cloud service providers.

Let's begin from the beginning : the definition of what cloud computing is seems to be still evolving – Infrastructure, Platfrom, Service – occasionally, all seem to be interchangeably used and the overlap in terms of what they can offer seems to be more pronounced with more discussions about their capabilities and demonstrated early success stories. Consensus is that phenomenal growth is expected in the on-demand infrastructure and platform markets.

The vendors are getting more and more confident about growth and adoption. The market leaders are beginning to report rapid adoption from customers across industries, regions and spanning varied size and supporting high degree of volume of transactions. One of the most important driver pushing this adoption seems to stemming out of the desire from business to look at SaaS and beyond into the cloud based mostly on considerations of cost takeouts and in a few cases of the desire to be the early adopters into the cloud.Considerations centering around change management, integration, migration of data, security rejig inside the enterprises, IT staff training, business push to move faster and scale ad infiniteum with cloud all become key areas to be managed as the cloud gets into the mainstream and are definitive factors in the adoption curve. Two things are common in this adoption.

Short-term, overflow or burst capacity to supplement on-premise assets – it appears that this may well be the primary use case for as-a-service cloud platforms currently in the market today. Some consider this to be a step of stop-gap hosting arrangement and for some this is an opportunity for cloud based services and applications adding on to existing on-premise stack with additional capabilities.

The adoption is not smooth just like a flip of a switch. Sophisticated users are beginning to weigh private clouds(hybrid), discussions about multi –tenancy, single instancing all are getting more and more attention and in some cases, already sowing the seeds for a religious discussions therein. Many users are beginning to assess the relevance of the cloud in respect of ability to integrate with communities, ability to share existing environments with other players, ability to integrate third party apps, look at ways of using and paying for real-time capacity, storage and compute usages etc .In terms of top-of-mind recollection and from the experience pool , it appears that Google, Amazon & SFDC are the frontrunners . Azure platform is beginning to rear its head in the discussions albeit occasionally, while everyone admitted that Microsoft one day or other will get to become a strong force to contend with. Some shared a statistic : Google may have more than 10 million paid users, more than half-a-million developers have courted the Amazon web services platform and SFDC has more than a million subscribers trying to leverage the Force.com platform. The surprising part is that more and more adoption, like the proverbial law, work fills to cover the time, more and more cloud centric offers would keep coming to eat the budget – so be assured no budget shrinks are going to happen in the short-to-medium term while capabilities begin to increase.

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