Upon reviewing my (few) blog posts and thoughts on enterprise architecture over the last few years, I realized I haven’t opined about cloud computing. At all. So to fulfill my bucket list, this will be my (one) obligatory post on cloud computing.
If you are reading this I’ll bet you know what I’m talking about. When I say cloud computing I’m thinking of the model created/documented by NIST and being adopted and sold by the usual suspects in the computing industry. And one online retailer (Disclosure, my employer sells this service).
To say there is buzz around this topic is a gross understatement. But I feel its important (for me, anyway) to share some thoughts.
- Public cloud computing potentially saves money and helps shift capital expenditures (CapEx) to more variable operating expenses (OpEx). It presumes that CapEx is harder to obtain within corporations which, anecdotally, I agree. However I think the cost savings argument needs to be tempered and put into perspective. If a company spends ~5% of its revenue on IT, how much is that company really saving in expenditure.
- The real value of cloud is time-to-market/time-to-value (TTM/TTV). I feel this is the real winner. The ability for a company to get its “infrastructure dialtone” ready aides in project and product velocity. Having the hardware and software ready for development or installation of business-relevant software is a huge help. It assists not only to the developers chained to their desks but to the LOB leaders and eventually shareholders. New business capabilities can be automated more rapidly and delivered to the company’s customers. And this value can be realized by those using both public and private versions of this approach.
- Cloud computing doesn’t do anything for integration. If you have a business application running in the cloud, great. But guess what – you still need to integrate it with all the existing software applications/enterprise service bus in your corporation. And I don’t care what year it is – integration is a pain in the arse and, if not managed correctly, will grind your project to a halt. I recommend a dedicated enterprise architect managing just the integration effort; an approach I’ve seen and used on multiple occasions.
- Cloud computing is about how the business or technology capability is delivered. It is not what is being delivered. This blogging platform (WordPress) is offered as a SaaS offering by WordPress. I can also download it myself and run it on my laptop or my own server. Either way, the functionality stays mostly the same. The exception is with technical capabilities addressing characteristics such as elasticity in responding to workload fluctuation (scalability). This same idea extends to whatever other business applications your company may leverage.
So those are a few of my thoughts on cloud computing. Where are you seeing the value of cloud computing in your corporation? Is the value being realized within IT only or do your business leaders see the value?