Friday, 8 October 2010

Cloud Computing: The Truth About What Runs on Amazon

I continue to encounter an interesting phenomenon regarding cloud computing as I speak at conferences, present to IT groups, and talk to businesspeople interested in the subject. Most people recognize the importance of cloud computing, acknowledge the relevance to their environments, and describe their initiatives.

However, one thing I often hear is that while Amazon is the clear leader in cloud computing, "it's mostly used by SMB organizations." In other words, public cloud computing is not being used by big enterprises. And, people add, even if large companies are using public clouds, it's for "unimportant" applications. The canonical example offered by people making this observation is that "no one is moving SAP to the cloud."

What I find interesting about these discussions is how poorly they match my experience and observations. From our experience, Amazon and its fellow on-demand cloud providers like Rackspace are being used by large organizations quite a bit, for important applications, and certainly the use is increasing.

So why the disconnect between actual facts on the ground and perception?

Who Led Open Source Charge? Developers

I've long thought that the rise of on-demand cloud computing reminds me a lot of the adoption of open source, and that perspective was reinforced by a couple of blog posts I read this week by Stephen O'Grady of the analyst firm RedMonk.

The first is his discussion (titled "Meet the New Kingmakers, Same as the Old Kingmakers") about a Forrester report analyzing open source adoption within enterprises. The report found significant use, buttressed by survey results and other facts. In his post, O'Grady mildly criticized Forrester for coming to a conclusion that RedMonk did four years ago.

RedMonk, he explains, believes that developers are the true decision makers in organizations and from its interactions with those type of folks, RedMonk knew years ago that open source was being used in a big way. Forrester, he notes, surveyed CIOs and senior IT decision makers -- that is, management. He quotes a post by former Red Hat sales exec Billy Marshall that "CIOs are the last to know," meaning, IT organizational decisions are actually made bottom up (i.e., by developers), and that senior management perception lags reality by a significant margin.

O'Grady states: "We are founded upon the idea that developers are the single most important constituency in technology. Open source dramatically lowers the barriers to adoption, such that developers may build upon what they want rather than what they're given." Both O'Grady and Marshall emphasize that developers use open source because it makes doing their job easier.

Join Us:

No comments: