The cloud is a metaphor. Well, i recon you guessed that already, but what is the cloud really then? You can look at the the cloud in two different ways, in option one, you look at the cloud the same way as Larry Ellisson did as he ranted on the cloud during an interview saying that it’s “just someone else his computer”.
Let me elaborate here that Larry isn’t wrong from a technical stance. We have always been using the cloud. Every server is either part of a private, hybrid or public cloud. The internet itself is a cloud from a technical point of view.
However, from a more commercial point of view the cloud is a different way of working. Not being having to be dependant on hardware, managing software, keeping network infrastructure alive and all that if you don’t want to. You can just get the application as a service. Everything required to keep the application running smooth and up2date, is taken care of.
Of course, if you want to, you can get your services lower in the stack, like managing the infrastructure yourself and building your own software applications to service your customers.
You can decide for yourself what you want to manage and the rest is taken care of for you, as a service.
Realistically speaking the world is not there yet, al lot of ground has been covered and some where IT Service providers are developing and adopting hybrid and public Cloud strategies in their portfolio, the companies that use IT resources are slow in adapting them.
This of course has obvious reasons, like investments that have been made and need to be made to money. But some reasons are more difficult to deal with, like legal regulations and risk management. Don’t forget security in this too, although all the Cloud providers deliver measurements to ensure security in their services, implementing them is often more difficult than you might think.
Within private clouds that you manage, it’s often just as difficult. But because you hired specialist engineers they will fix it for you. So you don’t have to worry about it. With public clouds, they make it look so easy that you might think you don’t need specialist. However, unless if you have the time to do the work in learning all the possibilities and consequences of implementing them, you will still need specialists to help you out.
I’m not talking about the home user with two Office 365 accounts and some private data in their OneDrive storage. Securing that bit doesn’t need to be difficult. But talking about a complete company using Office 365, Azure AD, Intune and other services, that is a whole different ball game.
Just look at cloud services like Spotify, Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Office 365, EverNote, WhatsApp, Telegram, Salesforce and many, many more. They are the software applications of today. Underneath are infrastructure services like Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, Vmware vCloud, OpenStack and Apache Cloudstack, running hypervisors like those from Vmware, XCP, KVM, Microsoft and Citrix. Some have made custom hardware, like Facebook and Google, others run mainstream hardware and made custom Operating Systems or just custom software.
One thing in my opinion that is important is to realize that for a Cloud provider, infrastructure services doesn’t make a lot of money anymore. Of course when you have enough customers, like TransIP or UniServer, money can definitely be made, but for most of the Cloud providers, the footprint of usage on the infrastucture just won’t be enough to really make money of it. So you need to sell value added services, like management, software development, above average uptime garanties (Mission Critical) or implementation management.
This is what makes Cloud Providers nowadays, and i’m very interested on where this is going…