Quo Vadis with Cloud

I have often wondered as to how we transition from one state of dependency to another in the technology world. The pace of change sometimes overwhelms the reluctant participants and they scramble to catch-up, jumping a few steps. We can be nerds who adapt to changes like fish to water or herds who would follow the early adopters like the Pied Piper. The good thing about this that the end of the road is not a cliff to fall, but a mountain to climb.

I have often wondered as to how we transition from one state of dependency to another in the technology world. The pace of change sometimes overwhelms the reluctant participants and they scramble to catch-up, jumping a few steps. We can be nerds who adapt to changes like fish to water or herds who would follow the early adopters like the Pied Piper. The good thing about this that the end of the road is not a cliff to fall, but a mountain to climb.

Step back a decade and reflect on the state of computers and software applications CIOs were held to ransom by hardware vendors and licensing for enterprise software. But the applications were running on predictable lines and changes were deployed in a planned manner and boundaries of scale were visible before an upgrade. It was better to be sure than be sorry was the goal of information systems. First of the disruptions came in the form of virtualization to camouflage the hardware requirements into virtual machines that can be spun-off elastically. It took some time to settle the interoperability and performance issues and CIOs felt liberated from having to maintain multiple operating environments to run applications. Well, not totally as the software licenses and maintenance costs were sticking out as the vendors changed the pricing model.

At another level, Data centers that were the epicenter for compute power in VMs are becoming part of a large network for aggregation and distribution of data. When Virtual data centers with high-speed networks and a mesh of Virtual Machines and Storage appeared as Cloud, there was another disruption. This was the Eureka moment for CIOs and they truly believed the hegemony of systems vendors and software suppliers would vanish. Well, life is not going to be that simple for CIOs – there were hurdles to overcome when migrating applications, databases and transaction workloads. The big debate is now on how well we can do this, without breaking a sweat – no loss of business continuity or performance while shifting the IT assets to virtual eco-system in the cloud.

Next Gen SaaS companies have nothing to lose and hence adopted this computing paradigm as part of their DNA and became nimble as they grew to be the poster boys of the Cloud era. The enterprises with a large IT foot-print must contend with legacy, robust applications to perform in the same exact manner in a Cloud environment, no matter how much of resources consumed in the process. It is creditable that AWS and their peers have launched services to slice and dice the instances to suit multiplicity of requirements. Here is the catch – to keep costs under check, there would be a tendency to adopt multi-cloud strategy like horses for the courses. The simple premise of management of servers, storage and applications is now a complex matrix of Application services, VMs, Network links, Zones and Deployment options for DB etc., combined with plethora of price bundles and the associated dashboards.

Is this now case of vendor lock-in transformed into Cloud provider dependency? Has unification of resources and federation of access caused shifting of the power equation? I am still wondering if this is the right way of looking at change with a jaundiced eye?

 

About the Author

Madhavan Srinivasan

Madhavan Srinivasan

Managing Director – Products and Solutions