Friday, 31 October 2008

Who is the cloud for?

Cloud computing is being hyped out of it's socks at the moment. Microsoft being the latest to enter the fray with the launch, or at least preview of, Azure Services Platform. On the face of it the case is compelling, but I'm left wondering if many companies are actually going to make the jump.

Tech startups are an obvious customer for this. My own experience with a simple Rails app I developed (to better manage our employee absence records) and wanted hosting bears this out.

I know next to nothing about linux and setting up and environment to host Rails. I signed up for an account with and my application was running and hosted with the hour. All for $1 a day.

A startup has zero legacy and puts a premium on time saving over anything else so it can focus on delivering it's new product/service to market. I look at Esendex and think that we've probably past the point where it's beneficial.

We, like many companies, have already invested in the infrastructure and personnel to support our IT requirements. Moving to a new infrastructure with less control and lower SLAs (Amazon offer 99.95%) than we're used to doesn't seem to make business sense.

Take a larger organisation than Esendex and the case seems less compelling.

Maybe it's the control freak in me, but I couldn't imagine twiddling our thumbs waiting for our service to come while Amazon resolved an outage.

I suspect there may be elements of cloud computing that we may find use for, archive storage strikes me as one possibility, but a wholesale migration is certainly not on the cards.

So if only startups and new projects are going to use the cloud, is there enough business to go round?


Alain said...

It is obvious Adam that startups and ISVs can leverage a lot of the 'cloud' since the risks involved aren't present yet compared with established companies.

True that at this point, enterprises with firmly established IT departments will find it difficult to cede that much control but it doesn't mean that there are absolutely zero areas where they can use the cloud even now. It may just be small steps now but but as the service becomes more reliable and existing infra become obsolete then expect more rapid cloud adoption. Lower cost is too tempting to resist, too.

Thank you for getting on the service.


Adam said...

Thanks Alain, I think you're right about small steps. The app I have hosted on your service is an example of that.