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What Cloud Flavor Will You Choose?

I'll take the swirl please thank you

Vanilla, Chocolate or a Swirl?  Rocky Road may be next as it looks like a bumpy ride ahead.

The popular kids on the cloud computing block are the public types, which makes sense to me, particularly at this early junction of the industry.  Though a common opinion by industry insiders is that we will see many different approaches as existing technology companies seek to position themselves in this segment.

Some of those potential alternative arrangements (at least in theory) are described below.

Cloud Computing Models

- Public: Off Premise.  Pay for service designed, built, and managed by service provider.

- Private: On Premise.  Various arrangements.

  1. Designed, built, and managed by client.
  2. Designed by IT consulting provider, built, and managed by client.
  3. Designed and built by provider, and managed by client.
  4. Designed, built, and managed by provider at client premise.
  5. Designed, built (on client premise), and managed by provider off premise or combination of on and off premise resources.

- Hybrid: Combination of one or more alternatives.

  1. Multiple internal / external providers.
  2. Multiple configuration arrangements.

Perhaps even private, lease to buy clouds.  Businesses can begin with a public (privately hosted) rental model offered by a service provider, and ultimately buy the private modularized solution down the road depending on their level of success.

I will readily cede that the various models do not have the same degree of benefit provided by a public cloud service offering, though they do address other concerns clients have about security, privacy, compliance, data ownership, disaster, backup and recovery, and cross border geopolitical issues.

However, as one challenge is solved by such options it's likely a new one may be introduced.

For example, a startup that begins with a public cloud model,  becomes wildly successful, and over time migrates from a public cloud to a privately hosted cloud by the same provider (separate, dedicated infrastructure, - assuming cloud service providers offer these options), and ultimately goes from leasing via the provider to bringing the infrastructure back in house through its purchase (lease to buy - again, assuming such models are  provided as options) due to concerns about one or more of the aforementioned, introduces other issues such as those faced today by owning their traditional IT infrastructures.

So we return full circle.  No different than organizations that outsource their infrastructure or have hosted solutions only to bring them back in house years later for various reasons.

Perhaps by then, new offerings by cloud service providers will exist that allow synchronization of the cloud application offering regardless of where it resides in any of these models which is made possible by the same technologies that facilitate cloud computing.

Not that I envision Salesforce or other cloud service providers licensing their solutions as stand alone offering to other organizations any time soon, but potentially as managed application extensions that reside on client premise.

However, if a large enough enterprise came along and offered enough money for a "one off", well, business is business, and they will likely entertain the offer.

After all, the underlying infrastructure is virtualized, and communications technology makes the rest possible.

  • Would you like us to design, build, or manage your private cloud?
  • Want to maintain a mirrored copy of the data on your on premise servers for backup purposes?
  • License our application or extension for your internal on premise cloud?

The business configurations can vary widely across a full spectrum.

By these examples, I'm not suggesting that they are any more efficient approaches to cloud computing, but simply alternative options that may be governed by external pressures and other internal corporate concerns.

While its clear that the new paradigm creates vulnerabilities for existing software and hardware vendors, services and consultants, I'm intrigued as to the level of exposure and vulnerability of today's players in the IT landscape.

After all, why have an Iron Mountain for DBR when you can have a geographically dispersed and mirrored "Iron Cloud"?

So who do you see as the winners and losers of this developing paradigm?

What industries and segments do you think will be the ones to benefit most?  Least?

Will there be a need for a Cloud Configuration Management Database for Cross Cloud Federation, Meta-data and data ownership purposes as data moves from cloud provider to cloud provider or other potential configurations passing through various external organizations?

Perhaps Common Point Authoring provides an answer to such data ownership issues.  Steve Holcombe, CEO at Pardalis, seems to think so.

The cloud provides many interesting areas to research, though one can hardly become an expert across so many interesting technology and business domains.

Cloud computing provides not only for a diverse set of technical configurations, but business model configurations, which leads to my intense curiosity as to what the future of the virtual corporation will look like.  Which will achieve the right balance for enterprise clients?

Of one thing I have no doubt, and that is the profound impact that this new paradigm will bring notwithstanding Mr. Ellison's protestations to the contrary.

I'll take the swirl please.  Thank you.

-Tune The Future-

More Stories By Ray DePena

Ray DePena worked at IBM for over 12 years in various senior global roles in managed hosting sales, services sales, global marketing programs (business innovation), marketing management, partner management, and global business development.
His background includes software development, computer networking, systems engineering, and IT project management. He holds an MBA in Information Systems, Marketing, and International Business from New York University’s Stern School of Business, and a BBA in Computer Systems from the City University of New York at Baruch College.

Named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Computing Bloggers in 2009, Top 50 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2010, and Top 100 Bloggers on Cloud Computing in 2011, he is the Founder and Editor of Amazon.com Journal,Competitive Business Innovation Journal,and Salesforce.com Journal.

He currently serves as an Industry Advisor for the Higher Education Sector on a National Science Foundation Initiative on Computational Thinking. Born and raised in New York City, Mr. DePena now lives in northern California. He can be followed on:

Twitter: @RayDePena   |   LinkedIn   |   Facebook   |   Google+

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