Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Article

Cloud Computing Expo - Cloud Spotting

Microsoft's forecast - and its margin implications - is nothing to sneeze at

Since Microsoft’s forecast – and its margin implications – is nothing to sneeze at, we asked industry analyst and cloud spotter Amy Wohl what she has been seeing.

 

 

“The first thing to keep in mind is that we have some semantic confusion, as is usual at this stage of a new market, around just what is a cloud. We are now pretty sure that what we used to call grids and what we now call clouds is the same thing. But we also have things called “platforms” that seem to be very much like a kind of cloud (and are sometimes called clouds) and then there is SaaS itself which looks very much like a cloud with some application software (and some SaaS vendors describe their offering just that way). I’d say we can agree that a cloud is managed computing power, often with applications, accessed across the Internet. And I’ll agree that a company can have its own cloud, if it wants one.

 

 

 

“IBM has finally enunciated a vision for its cloud computing that makes sense for IBM and its customers. It offers a very high-end version of cloud computing (virtually unlimited amounts of power, up to and including mainframe systems, backed by its Tivoli system management. These clouds can be used as part of a large shared infrastructure, where the customer has access to a large pool of computing resources to handle peak activity but doesn’t need to pay for all of this infrastructure all of the time. Some customers (the governments in China and Vietnam, for example) are buying and implementing their own Blue Clouds, which they will use to support particular projects such as university research or computing for high-tech start-ups. And, of course, IBM can create a Blue Cloud for an individual Very Large Enterprise, managed by IBM outside the firewall or by IBM or the customer inside the firewall. The choices are broad.

 

 

 

“IBM actually offers even more choices that may be less obvious. IBM provides a platform to ISVs who want to offer SaaS applications. In that it is very much like other platform vendors like Salesforce.com, eBay, Google or Amazon. A major difference here is whether the platform owner is also an application provider (like Salesforce.com), whose ISVs are related to his application offering or whether the platform provider is simply offering managed computing, perhaps with some technical assistance and/or some marketing oomph. (IBM offers both.)

 

 

 

“It was reported last week that Microsoft is moving to the cloud. In this case, Microsoft means it is going to offer at least one of its applications, Exchange, as a hosted application (SaaS) from its own cloud. Microsoft intends to continue on the road of “software-plus-service,” meaning that you to use a PC on your desk with Office to make use of the Internet-based services that Microsoft also provides. What seems to be moving to Microsoft Clouds are not personal productivity apps (a la Google or Yahoo’s Zimbra), but shared services (mail, collaboration, customer relationship management). Microsoft has been quick to note that this is a big initiative and that in five years they would expect half their customers to use Exchange as a service. This is not just something for smaller customers, either. Microsoft already has some large enterprise like Coke, with 75,000 seats.

 

 

 

“Microsoft has other online (perhaps cloud) services such as its Live services and new Live Mesh service for synchronizing devices of every kind. It is also testing a consumer version of Office that will combine a basic version of desktop Office with an array of online services.

 

 

 

“Last Friday, I spoke with Workday, a SaaS ERP company I’ve been tracking since its start. It’s stirred up quite a bit of attention, boldly claiming last April that its feature set would be at parity with SAP by next fall. So far, it’s on schedule with its product plans, with hefty HR offerings, including payroll and expenses, and a substantial portion of its financial offerings. Look at its latest Workday 4.0 offering at its web site. More interesting is the fact that although it didn’t expect to move beyond the mid-market into the enterprise until more of its product was completed, it already has a number of large enterprises and more in their pipeline.

 

 

 

“Recently I attended a Digital Transformation Forum at Penn State. Clouds and SaaS were definitely subjects of discussion. There was a lot of lively commentary on whether SaaS was for big companies and whether it could provide the customization and security they needed (SAP was an attendee). I believe companies like Workday and Salesforce.com are going to prove that SaaS is about what the application does (the solution) and not the size of the customer. But I think we shall see – and soon.

 

 

 

“Think of it this way:

 

  • “You can access a cloud as pure computing power, a place to load an application that needs lots of computing or requires cyclical peaks
  • “You can find a cloud that provides a platform with APIs to support an ecosystem of ISVs who provide software that you find appealing
  • “You can choose a cloud whose platform includes an application (Salesforce.com) that attracts other ISVs to surround it
  • “You can simply find a SaaS vendor whose application is appealing – you don’t care about the cloud behind it, just the application
  • “You can build your own cloud, managed by a vendor or your own IT staff for some large-scale purpose

 

 

“And no doubt, someone, somewhere, is dreaming up some other things to do with clouds.

 

 

 

“I sense several likely outcomes:

 

  • “A messy period with many clouds, many of them not interoperable because they’re not build to the same standards
  • “An interim period of standardization
  • “A period of consolidation because we really want to buy our applications in a way that they can be aware of each other and use them in a common environment. The easiest way to do this is for each of several vendors to provide a cloud with all of the applications you need and some level of integration. Remember that nothing keeps a cloud/platform vendor from being one of several vendors who offers a popular application if the ISV agrees
  • “A higher level of standardization where (just as we do on the Internet today) any application can be used with any other application on the platform and through the portal of your choice.”

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


CloudEXPO Stories
The vast majority of businesses now use cloud services, yet many still struggle with realizing the full potential of their IT investments. In particular, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lack the internal IT staff and expertise to fully move to and manage workloads in public cloud environments. Speaker Todd Schwartz will help session attendees better navigate the complex cloud market and maximize their technical investments. The SkyKick co-founder and co-CEO will share the biggest challenges uncovered by the company's [2017 survey](https://offers.skykick.com/top-cloud-challenges) of North American business, sales and IT leaders.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on organizations of all sizes and in every line of business. Fintech is a constant battleground for this technology expanding trend and the lessons learned here can be applied anywhere. Digital transformation isn't going to go away and the need for greater understanding and skills around managing, guiding, and understanding the greater landscape of change is required for effective transformations.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science" is responsible for guiding the technology strategy within Hitachi Vantara for IoT and Analytics. Bill brings a balanced business-technology approach that focuses on business outcomes to drive data, analytics and technology decisions that underpin an organization's digital transformation strategy.
Blockchain has numerous revolutionary ambitions, but technology hasn’t evolved enough to make them practical. What is the best use of blockchain technology today? How are asset owners and managers looking at blockchain to transform ownership structures? How will blockchain technology allow global investors to access new markets? What kinds of companies will take advantage of blockchain technology as a more efficient way to raise capital?
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 Cloud Computing Blogger for IT Integrators" by CRN (2015). Mr. Jackson's professional career includes service in the US Navy Space Systems Command, Vice President J.P. Morgan Chase, Worldwide Sales Executive for IBM and NJVC Vice President, Cloud Services. He is currently part of a team responsible for onboarding mission applications to the US Intelligence Community cloud computing environment (IC ...