Wednesday, January 28, 2009

2009 is the year to get into the cloud .. but not head first

If you listen to the pundits, and I really try to do that as many times as I can, 2009 will be a year of transformation for the enterprise software market. The large incumbents like IBM, Oracle, MicroSoft and SAP are slated to gain share of wallet, there is going to be a consolidation of the "stack" (StackWars), and the emerging concepts around Software-as-a-Service, Cloud Computing and Virtualization are predicted to gain traction.

So far so good. Ho Hum. Any real news here?

I think 2009 is the year to get into the cloud ... but, like I mention in the header, not head first.
Cloud computing to many sounds like a renaissance of mainframes and time share, especially when you combine it with the benefits of virtualization and Software-as-a-Service consumption model.

The real breakthrough benefit, however, is not delivered by where the software is running. Or by how it is being consumed. I believe the transformational power of this concept is rooted in where it has its source.

The source of the powerful appeal of cloud computing is not the concept of taking existing enterprise software and "sticking it" into the cloud. This will not work, especially in the case of highly customized, industry specific enterprise software, where there are just too many issues around integrity, elasticity and availability to be a real alternative to the current on premise model.

The source of the powerful appeal of cloud computing is the way software will be developed for the cloud ... by combining it with the "wisdom of the crowds" approach of social media. I believe "Cloud-Ready" software will evolve more organically than the software produced in the classic prescriptive programming models of the last century. There will be trial and error, and many many feedback loops. There will be collaborative innovation, and incremental break throughs. There will be customization on the fly and there will be mashups at the personal level, to really make the software fit your pesonal style. And there will be powerful integration with the existing software, already running in the enterprise. And, as I postulated in my last post, there will be a continuation of Middleware, in the guise of Service-Ware, or Process-Ware, that will not run in the "middle" of anything, but "around" everything to deliver governance, integrity, consistency and transformation.

That, in my mind, is the appeal of cloud computing.

The Cloud, like so many concepts in the past, will not replace anything in computing, but add a new, exiting, much more fun dimension to enterprise software.

That's my 10 cents for today (P.S. 10 cents vs. 5 cents because of inflation)




    Check out the commentary from Dennis Howlett here

  2. Additional background to the topic @