Thursday, 3 June 2010

Cloud Computing Adoption Challenges: Perception vs Reality

Examining innovators in Cloud Computing can give a good indication of the real adoption challenge

Like investment chasing the highest return, does innovation chase technology adoption challenges – especially those challenges which stand in the way of adoption of the latest hype? After all, anybody who manages to remove the biggest stumbling block stands to gain the maximum financial return from the effort. The harder the problem – the more competitive advantage you get. Surely, VCs will invest in such effort?

Therefore, if you track the effort of the promising innovators who are working on different aspects of cloud computing, you should be able to get a fairly good idea of where the real challenges are. Consequently, the areas which are left out are not real challenges and more of a perception issue.

A good place to start is to look at the Under the Radar event held on 16thApril, 2010. It showcased 27 companies, most of them working on some aspect of cloud computing. These were startups that have not yet “made it”. In addition there were 6 companies considered to be in the Grad Circle – that is they have graduated. What I find most interesting is the categories under which the awards were given:

  • Data 2.0 – different methods of working with data
  • Compliance – not security
  • Analytics
  • Virtualization
  • App Development and Management
  • Infrastructure – more about infrastructure management
  • Communication – not really about cloud

As you can see is nothing about security or reliability. This has strengthened my view that these are more of a perceived challenge than a real challenge.

Looking at the distribution of what these companies are doing, my view about the biggest challenge is reinforced.

  1. Tooling for managing cloud application and environment (13 out of 27)
    1. App Dynamics: Cloud Application Monitoring – both in SaaS mode as well as on premise mode
    2. AppFirst: SaaS based Cloud Application Monitoring
    3. Aprigo: Cloud data access management
    4. CloudShare: Share cloud image
    5. CloudSwitch: Migrates existing VM environment to Cloud
    6. Conformity: SaaS user management
    7. Layerboom: Tools to create virtual server Clouds
    8. Makara: Cloud Application Monitoring – without any agent installed on the server
    9. MaxiScale: Cloud storage management
    10. Puppet Labs: Open source Data Centre automation tools
    11. RiverMuse: Alert and event management
    12. SaaSure (now Okta): SaaS user management
    13. VMTurbo: Cloud Application Monitoring

  2. Best way to store data in the cloud (6 out of 27)

    1. Cloudant: CouchDB in the Cloud
    2. Delphix: Tools for refreshing and provisioning of databases
    3. GenieDB: Distributed DB with SQL support
    4. Kinamik: Secure audit vault to preserve sensitive data
    5. Neo Technology: Graph DB
    6. NorthscaleMemcached DB

Out of these my personal favorite is GenieDB – it promises to do something which I have always thought to be technically infeasible – to have a large distributed DB and seamlessly and efficiently run SQL on it. This is something which neither Oracle nor Microsoft nor IBM has been able to do.

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