Monday, December 10, 2012

Private Cloud Matures: The Suits Take Over?

Like many things in life, new technologies have a distinct life cycle that is somewhat predictable.  The pace at which they move through this life cycle usually isn't predictable and they sometimes simply fail to progress along the life cycle, but the sequence of events usually predictable even if the pace of this transition is not.

In the private cloud world, there is so much hype and so much pent up market demand that it seems obvious that it will proceed along this timeline fairly rapidly.  However, this is a pretty major paradigm shift so the pacing is difficult to predict.  Because of this, I'm always on the lookout for actual data that shows progress (or lack thereof) in this space.  Recently, CapGemini has come out with a great study that shows that this progression is moving along rapidly:

In short, the study says that Cloud deployment decisions are largely being made by business leaders instead of technology leaders.  That's not unusual when a technology matures.  It's also interesting that in this sample, cloud is becoming very ubiquitous.  This also lends credence to the idea that Cloud is now mainstream and moving into a mature technology phase.

The other interesting thing in this study is the very high percentage of folks who are stating cost savings as a reason to move to cloud.  51% state that cost savings is a major driver for cloud. However, other post-deployment studies have shown that cost savings from cloud aren’t that significant (like this one from CSC). There seems to be a growing gap between expected benefit and actual benefit. Given all the hype, this isn’t unexpected but it may lead to the collapse of the hype cycle.

We have seen this movie before.  When distributing computing started to become mainstream in the early '90's the same thing happened.  This was supposed to enhance productivity and have a positive ROI.  In actual practice, this didn't happen.  Organizations who had loose management policies found little or no financial benefit.  The implementation of distributed computing on it's own had little or no financial benefit.  It was the change in business process that led to benefit, the technology was simply an enabler of this.

The same thing is happening here.  Companies focused on benefits management can gain significant business advantage in deploying cloud style architectures.  However, there is no inherent benefit in cloud. 

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