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How Cloud Is the Zipcar of Computing

Cloud computing evolved from traditional computing in a similar way. A few large firms dominated the market

At a pre-conference Meetup recently, one of the organizers waxed poetic about how the cloud is changing how companies do business.  His big example was ZipCar, the car sharing company. His example was how Zipcar uses cloud to deal with data.

But, I think he missed the bigger analogy there: how cloud is changing IT the way Zip car forever changed car ownership.

Zipcar in Chicago

Photo credit: Zipcar Mediaroom. What up, CFT headquarters in the background

Before Zipcar, a few large firms dominated the car buying market. If you wanted a car you went to a dealership and negotiated a long term contract. You took on the responsibility for owning, maintaining, and paying down the costs for the life of your vehicle. Your car selection was also limited by what the local dealership had on the lot that day. The cost to buy, own, and maintain a car kept many people from having the mobility of a car.

Now, Zipcar has changed the way people use cars. Zipcar is ideal is for shorter term needs without owning or maintaining a car. You can select and reserve the vehicle you need before you leave home, and your future vehicles are located in places that make Zipcars on-demand and largely self-service.

How cloud is the Zipcar of computing
Cloud computing evolved from traditional computing in a similar way. A few large firms dominated the market for hardware, real estate, and on-premise security.

Before cloud, if you wanted additional capacity and compute power, you went through their sales cycle, waited for their sales and implementation teams to coordinate, and then paid a hefty price in capital costs. It favored large enterprises with the relationships and deep pockets, and was a barrier to entry for the nimble but cash poor SMEs.

Forbes: business continuity and speed of deployment are top drivers

Photo credit: Forbes, via IDG Enterprise

Now, public and hybrid cloud models favor the smaller SMEs, dev/test groups, and even MVP pre-start up players.

If you have a credit card, you can sign up for an instance and start deploying to public cloud immediately. The cloud resources you need are no longer limited by physical location – data centers / availability zones are distributed around the globe for greater accessibility. The UI or command line interface gives cloud users the ability to order up resources as needed, for on-demand, self service needs.

Possibly more exciting, enterprises of all sizes can use cloud for far more than just capacity expansion and dev/test. Cloud environments can become the most cost-effective way to update legacy applications, update production systems and ensure high availability. Our Server3 image management solution helps enterprises bring their legacy and pre-cloud images with them to any cloud provider. The Zipvan of cloud, perchance?

Head in the clouds:
How is cloud changing business? The classics include how Netflix scales up and down with demand using AWS, Pintrest handles explosive growth (estimated $4B worth in October 2013!), and Adobe delivers their software online instead of via the traditional in-store CD drives.
See also, our Life in the Cloud series on the blog. We’ve had hundreds of customers use public, private and hybrid clouds to do production work with AD, partner network connectivity, legacy application migration, and more.

The post How cloud is the Zipcar of computing appeared first on Cloud Computing Best Practices.

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