It's so early in the
days of cloud computing. Many haven't even started to realize the magnitude
what this shift could be.
It's the change from
custom to standardized… Yes, there's the often cited analogy to the evolution
of power supply. From having your own water wheel to plugging into the electric
grid. My current favorite analogy is clothing. People had clothing for the longest
time, they still do, but lots of things have changed since a few hundred years
ago when people either made their own, or they could afford a tailor to have
their clothes tailor made.
Because of that,
most people didn't own more than a few pieces of clothing, but the few tailored
ones they owned fit very well. With increasing industrialization came clothes
in standard sizes. It was more economical for manufacturers to make just a few sizes.
Over time, even the number of sizes went down. Some companies only make S, M, L
and possibly XL. Why? Because it's even more economical to make as few sizes as
Cloud computing is
going to put the world of computing through the same evolution. It takes
computing to the industrial age. We're moving past the times where environments
were made from scratch and purpose built. In the industrial age, it's about
buying mass-market products, manufactured to fit "good enough" for
many but not fitting perfectly for just one use.
Clothing brands that
have more differentiated sizing today are usually more expensive. They have to
pass on the higher manufacturing cost and cater to customers that prefer better
fitting clothes over cheap ones. You can also still got to a tailor and get
custom made clothes, they fit great, but they are far more expensive than
buying a standard size.
The analogy seems to
hold when you explore deeper. Custom clothes never went away. Special purpose
clothing is still not mass-produced and sold at Walmart. In fact, department
stores, high-end boutiques and custom tailors are still around.
undergo a similar evolution and thus fuel the Third Indstrial Revolution.
On-prem computing is not going away, but there are many the cases where
"good enough, easy and cheap will do". Those cases will go to the
cloud. In the cases where you need something special, you go to Nordstrom for
clothes, you'll stay in your own computing environment for computing.
What's uncertain is
the mix between on-prem and the cloud? I would think that Kohl's or Target sell
a whole lot more clothes than Nordstrom or Saks. Target's price points and the
ubiquity of their stores make buying clothes cheap and easy. Overall, Target's
annual revenue is about 70x the revenue of Nordstrom. While they're both
retailers, the experience and the products don't compare. They address
different scenarios. Sometimes cheap and easy is sufficient. In fact, I may
sacrifice some nice-to-haves when I get something cheap with a 5 minute trip
around the corner.
In the world of
cloud computing, I don’t get the same high-performance, highly tuned servers I
can put into my own data center - BUT I don't need those in every scenario. In many cases, an IaaS environment with all the constraints of a standardized environment will be good enough. With the right architecture, an cloud environment
can still deliver well performing and highly scalable solutions. In
some cases however, the cloud doesn't meet performance or scale requirements
and then I have the option to engineer and environment that will meet my needs.
If the analogy holds
then cloud computing is just as transformational as the introduction of
standardized clothing sizes. When S, M and L came around, it wasn't about
giving people the ability to express themselves with wearing different styles!
It was about meeting the scalability needs of war that needed to put uniforms
It wasn't about
starting a fashion industry that has to create new styles every year. It wasn't
about lifestyles and creating the job of the super model, but the new means of
mass producing clothes gave rise to new business models, new industries and impacted
the lifestyle of billions of people.
Cloud computing started with making computing more affordable
and scalable. What's
going to happen when computing is cheap, easy and ubiquitous?
It's very early in the days of cloud computing. I don't think I've grasped the magnitude yet,
but we're seeing the early signs of transformation. New business models are
emerging, new content offerings … new ways to build companies.
It's going to be