Cloud

Cloud computing: Not nearly hyped enough

Sometimes it seems as if cloud is old news, but the truth is we've barely scratched the surface on cloud adoption, even in established categories such as SaaS.
In the wake of big data, cloud seems like old news. Yet as Host Analytics CEO Dave Kellogg points out, we’ve barely scratched the surface on cloud adoption, even in established categories like SaaS.

Cloud, in other words, is not nearly hyped enough.

The future will take a long, long time

In 2013 the overall cloud pie grew to $131 billion, including such diverse segments as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), advertising services and Software as a Service (SaaS), according to Gartner.

Yet big as that sounds, we’re nowhere near saturation, as Kellogg highlights:

"IDC predicts that aggregate cloud spending will exceed $100B in 2014 with amazing growth, given the scale, of 25%. Those are big numbers, but think about this: some 15 years after Salesforce.com was founded, its head pin category, sales force automation (SFA), is still only around 40% penetrated by the cloud. ERP is less than 10% in the cloud. EPM is less than 5% in the cloud."

Kellogg goes on to quote Bill Gates, who once stated that “we always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.” It’s clear that enterprise IT is moving to the cloud. What’s less clear is just how long it will take.

Signs of things to come

If anything, the cloud is underhyped, and by quite a lot.

Just ask Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond, who notes that “hype” is in the eye of the beholder. Or, rather, the mouth of the hypester:

[Cloud is] over-hyped by vendors, [but] under-hyped by successful adopters who get the culture shift and competitive advantage it brings.

Adding to this DataStax co-founder Matt Pfeil stresses that cloud “enables faster technology innovation” by letting developers focus on building applications, not infrastructure. In fact, cloud frees businesses from the shackles of old-school IT, waiting around for servers to be provisioned before getting to innovate.

Is IT obstructing the cloud?

Or would, if only IT would get out of the way.

Too often, what the business wants and what IT delivers are two very different things, and cloud takes the blame. As George Reese, executive director of Cloud Management at Dell, indicates, "[The business] goes to IT and says, 'I want cloud.' They are thinking (cloud = AWS). [But when] IT hears. 'I want cloud,' they are thinking (cloud = virt[ualization]). [The business] wants 'on demand, self service.' IT delivers them virtualization. Thus, cloud fails both."

Enterprise IT, in other words, delivers cloud according to the tools it knows, from the vendors it knows, and the line of business suffers as a result. Cloud computing isn’t yesterday’s technology dressed up in cloudwashed language.

True cloud looks, feels and smells a lot like Amazon Web Services, which is one reason I suspect AWS adoption is actually bigger than we think. Gartner analyst Lydia Leong pegs AWS’s utilized compute capacity at five times that of the other 14 cloud providers in the Gartner Magic Quadrant combined.

That may be low.

An Amazonian cloud future?

So the real question going into 2014 is whether the cloud, as defined by the enterprise, simply means “Amazon.” Today it seems plausible that the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

But remember: we’re in the earliest days of cloud computing, even in “established” markets like SaaS. For the vast majority of the cloud market, at least as detailed by analysts like IDC and Gartner, Amazon doesn’t even play. Over time it may come to compete in SaaS and advertising, but this is doubtful.

But what doesn’t seem to be in doubt is the enterprise’s voracious appetite for more cloud services, be they business processes like salesforce automation delivered as cloud services or infrastructure made available as such. Each year we talk about security and other inhibitors to greater cloud adoption, and each year these fade in the face of the improved business and development agility the cloud affords. As such, we should expect 2014 to be the Year of the Cloud...just like 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010 were before it.

About

Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. In his day job, he is the vice president of business development and marketing at MongoDB. He was previously chief operating officer at Canonical, ...

28 comments
marasenha
marasenha

I see that I have something in common with the author of this text. I also think that cloud computing is very new and still fresh idea with big potential. In 2014 will premiere new cloud computing system called ComZetta, I recommend you all to check their site comzetta.com and read more about this project, cause its very interesting. Most intriguing feature of ComZetta is possibility to effectively increase power of your devices while using the cloud system - I think its quite unique and very promising.

MarciaKinetic
MarciaKinetic

Quite interested to hear Brett Loubser, Head of WeChat, Africa's presentation at the Enterprise Mobility Africa Summit on Native application technology for different devices - questioning if the time has come to consolidate...

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

"Is IT Holding Back The Cloud?"

No.  Well grounded common sense and logic are keeping the "Cloud Hype" in check like it needs to be.  Just because the big money makers and their technology decision maker pals say "The Cloud is The Next Best Thing And You Must Go To It Now" no longer carries the blind allegience that it use to.  Local techs/devs know what the Cloud is good for and whats its not.  All the Cloud Hype being pushed is nothing but a marketing ploy to relocate as much of the digital world and peoples data into the hands of a few ISP's. 

Barryherne
Barryherne

We can say that clouds is one of the best inventions of the 21 century because they are so useful for business and they will change the face of business and they have already done it.It is a proved fact that cloud-based solutions are getting more and more popular and practically every company uses one. We have the cloud-based monitoring software Anturis, that changed the way how we monitored the whole company network.

cloudnavigator
cloudnavigator

Well, there is no doubt that AWS has defined public cloud for the first 10 years but will it be able to repeat that success over the next 10 years?  Possibly, because the barrier to entry is high when operating at global scale and the network effects AWS enjoys has been created a huge ecosystem of third party providers who have leveraged AWS as part of their service delivery model.  Hype is endemic to any new technology but cloud computing seems to be beyond the hype phase today.  What will be interesting to watch for is the emergence of disruptive changes in cloud computing that could change the business model of the dominant providers. One to watch is PaaS, which many observers predict will become a much more important service in cloud computing over the next several years.

fordprefect12
fordprefect12

I'm a pc technician. I do like some cloud based services. I don't offer them myself except remote support to certain customers.  I do suggest some cloud based services to my customers as long as it is going to be a cost benefit to them or some other convenience. I do use MYOB Account Right Live because I can save local backups and work on the file locally if I choose. The cloud is slow to take off because people  are not entirely stupid. To entrust some offshore cloud company with all your data with no local backups at least,  is in my opinion stupid. The savings in IT repair costs as cybershooters suggests just gets moved to the hoster and the ISP provider.  What if you don't want to use the cloud company anymore. Is it easy to move your data to another provider? In my country you have to retain company records for 7 years. What happens if the cloud company goes bust. I tried out a cloud based backup service and their server some how lost the encryption password to the backed up files and I couldn't get any data back when I was doing a test restore.  I was lucky that I still had the original data. Of course there is the whole security issue.  We already get emails with links to fake bank sites, what happens when people start getting links to fake cloud hosters? I say - treat anything you upload to the internet  as being publically accessible, in all circumstances. I'm not changing that statement until such time that my data can be guaranteed 100% safe and secure. Given the huge security issues we still have that isn't likely to change anytime soon. 

cybershooters
cybershooters

I disagree with the guy from Dell, in reality what happens is the business goes to the IT dept. and says "implement cloud" thinking there will be some big cost saving on administration, the IT dept. implements SaaS or whatever it is, there is still the same administrative overhead because you've only really removed hardware maintenance from the equation (which is a small part of what IT departments do), the cost saving isn't realized and the costs go up because now it's all a subscription-based model and the company is held hostage by the service provider.  Then what happens is that management throws a tantrum because they realize they bought into a pile of salesman BS, which is what happens when the business doesn't take the time to fully understand how IT works.


Anyone who thinks otherwise obviously hasn't used Office 365 yet.

James Stevenson
James Stevenson

Although I agree to a certain extent that maybe the capabilities are lesser known, I believe "The Cloud" is over hyped.

"The Cloud" is just a paraphrase for "Hosted services". Plain and simple. Websites are all technically part of "The Cloud" as they too are "Hosted services". It's data stored on a remote server in the form of HTML/CSS, XMLor PHP documents (those are the most common) which are then transmitted to a recipient on their computer miles away in the form of data packets along a web address/IP via an internet browser. 

Hosted Desktop's, similar to PXE (Pixie) servers which are used to install operating systems to computers via a network, are the same thing in a different context. Instead of a document, you have an image such as an .ISO that is stored remotely that a user would then receive in a program that converted the data packages to a viewable system or GUI. 

"Cloud storage" is a website in reverse. You send the files/documents you want to the remote server via a transfer protocol in the form of data packets which are then converted to a copy of the original document. 

"The Cloud" is not as magical as it sounds and is greatly over hyped. 



mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Old is new, right. I remember being in servitude to mainframes. This is just the same thing in a new package. Why would I want to replace having the mainframe administrator's foot on my neck with some nameless geek on the Internet.

bobwinners
bobwinners

A very long time...  like when the NSA operates all the cloud computing services.  lol

eoschlotz
eoschlotz

I am pleased with the comments. The responders show a healthy skepticism. Reliability was touched on a little. Other issues are security and control over access to your data.

PeterM42
PeterM42

There are 2 issues here:

1) The technology around cloud computing - excellent networking means that your computing service, databases, etc don't have to be where the users are.  (I am typing this at a friends house on an email client at my server at home. An odd form of cloud computing, but computing via the cloud nonetheless).

2) The more important issue is who runs your computing services?  If you outsource to a 3rd party company, then you are at their mercy.  Quite often, these 3rd party companies have offered you a cheap price and deliver a cost-related service.  Not always what you expect!

Skipmarsh
Skipmarsh

Most large enterprises run the same technologies that Amazon, Rackspace, and other well known providers use, and the IT folks know it; which is why we are so reluctant to want to move our applications & data to the cloud.  What we are missing is the automation and self service capabilities that cloud providers have developed. Cloud isn't hype, rather the software layer between technology and those needing to use.  It would be much easier for Enterprises to adopt "Cloud" if they could actually make their infrastructure behave more like the providers we are being told do it better and cheaper than we can.  The next big software startup company will be the one that can turn existing infrastructures into a cloud that looks and feels like AWS or Azure, and one that will give IT folks the option of moving systems and data seamlessly between internal and external clouds. 

TRgscratch
TRgscratch

I assumed the "underhyped" in the title was simply click-bait 

am0s
am0s

Pushing the services cloud toward only one major vendor, is a really bad idea for so many reasons.  Virtualizing services into an internal cloud may make some sense, but pushing company data onto the cloud is bad practice. Cloud services and data should also be co-located so that outage in one data center won't impact access to the data or apps.

It is also viewed as outsourcing IT, which has more disadvantages than advantages. Outsourcing of labor, over time has been shown to be a bad idea, as a wholesale practice. Outsourcing certain pieces may be useful, but intellectual resources need to be retained in-house.  Many businesses still haven't learned that lesson, or are re-learning as new people push things out of the house or bring them back in-house.

In my opinion, cloud momentum has moved all too fast, and lessons are not being learned or shared as much as they need to, for overall benefit of society as a whole, or businesses in particular.  Outsourcing to an external cloud like AWS, does mean, in many cases, a loss of jobs within a short period, as more apps move there.

sbarman
sbarman

It's like deja vu all over again. All we have to do is transport back 30 years to 1984 and substitute everything you're saying about clown... err... cloud computing for timesharing services and it sounds eerily similar! Timesharing services were supposed to the future. One machine, many users. We provide the infrastructure, you compute. So... how did t hat work out?


BTW: "If anything, the cloud is underhyped, and by quite a lot" is anything but true. It is over-hyped especially as the end-all be-all to the ills of computing services yet there continues to be speed, uptime, and continuity of operations problems that have not been overcome. For example, how many AWS outages have taken down popular web services?


With all due respect, the cloud is over-hyped, under preforming and under delivering. It is a nebulous and a real cloud and has similar security problems. Too many people are following the hype like lemmings falling off a cliff. They don't know they've reached the disaster point until they've hit the edge and there's nothing they can do about it. Just ask anyone who has experienced and AWS outage!

cfostel
cfostel

My wife works at a busy doctor's office.  Their medical records system is now 100% digital and cloud based.  They have had far too many days when their internet service, the database host service, or the power in the neighborhood -- and hence their computers -- were out of service.  On those days the doctors fly blind with no access to patient records and they have no way to record the service given that day other than dozens of pages of paper that have nowhere to be stored until the computer service is restored.  The longest outage was 4 days while the telephone company worked on the wires.  I should note that 3 1/2 of those days were waiting for the work order to makes its way to the front of the queue.  In the old days of paper records that would have been called unacceptable reliability.  They were forced to adopt electronic records and offsite database storage by the government and their service to their patients suffered as a result.  I retired from a government job where when we lost internet service no work got done until the internet service was restored because all work assignments and responses had to be delivered and documented by email. 

Today you lament that people are not adopting unreliable service quickly enough to suit someone's inflated opinion of the service.  Why not focus on reliability and security.  Provide safe reliable service and the businesses will adopt it.

jengels
jengels

With all due respect to you Matt and in no way am I speaking this in an ugly tone.  I am only saying this as a co laborer in the field of IT:

You are drinking the koolaid!  There are some new benefits that the cloud offers (hosted services) as it is much cheaper today than it once was...--->..ON A Small Scale.  For a small business, Cloud MAY makes sense.  1. Small Business owners who cannot afford to verify backup tapes are still good or even backups for that matter might be better suited to pay a monthly subscription to have someone do it for them.  That said, they will need a good consultant (which cost good money) who can help navigate them through the right services so they don't get RIPPED OFF and are protected in the event they need to switch cloud providers.  Also a good attorney to understand the contract they are about to sign to place THEIR data on someone else's hardware.

2. Large and Medium sized Businesses - Cloud is EXTREMELY expensive.  FACT - it is MORE expensive than running your own equipment even with redundancy and staff to manage it.  I am speaking from experience so this can be proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.  --   There in lies the HYPE.  Let me break this down a bit for the readers.  1st let's talk about a full Cloud deployment - The benefit vs. the cost vs. the Service Levels.  When you are in the cloud, you are part of a much larger infrastructure.  Yes, this infrastructure will have redundancy but that said, any good IT Network Engineer or Systems Engineer can tell you, Redundancy is only part of it.  (Amazon has proven that the cloud can and will go down how many times?)  So now your company is just one client and part of a pool of other companies.  So now the question: - Who's data is more important?  Who's systems are more important and should get faster service?  And here I am only speaking of hardware.  What about Services.  If Cloud providers provide the services....  Domain Administration, SQL administration for in house applications etc, who gets priority when something in your networks infrastructure goes wrong?  Okay, that's full cloud deployment.  How about Hybrid?  -  1. It's still more expensive.  Again, can easily be proven if priced out over 5 years.  


I say all that to say this:  Cloud (Hosted Services) has it's place in IT, no doubt.  But it is Hyped plenty enough.  Business owners are made to think that the cloud just works but the truth is.......on the back end, its much more complex and much more expensive in the long run.  


I agree with bikegrr, it's not an IT decision, but a business decision.  I also think that business leaders should proceed with caution when being sold the bill of goods that cloud providers sale.  Your just outsourcing your IT in the end which will cost you more money and give you less control.

jimmanis
jimmanis

The promise of the cloud is to make IT disappear and to dramatically lower cost of operation. The clearest sign of success will occur when no one talks about it.

mikep
mikep

Just a new version of ASP from the '90's.  Cloud, the new name for the internet.


Nothing to see here move along.

Systems Guy
Systems Guy

Wow. you must need something to write about today and a shill too.  From day one when the cloud started to be discussed in the presses and on my soap box still;  who in their right mind would recommend using the cloud to store data?  Especially with the revalations by  Ed Snowden and I'm sure there is more to come.  Customer data is one of the most important assets a company owns.  Why would you turn it over to someone else to manage?

bikegrrr
bikegrrr

Many IT leaders are promoting cloud services, in spite of the changes it brings to their traditional departments. But this is not an IT decision, it is a business decision. And it needs to be driven by strategy. Many organizational leaders may have a sense of what the could can offer, but there remains an inherent distrust and unwillingness to part with data and information on local servers. While this offers them a false sense of security and privacy, it nonetheless remains a major barrier.

rickscr
rickscr

Yawn - this is news?

Saud Hassan Kazia
Saud Hassan Kazia

That's the problem. Too much hype not that much in practice in many parts of the world mainly due to security and bandwidth concerns

cfostel
cfostel

@sbarman : The trouble with most of today's computer gurus is that they don't remember 1984, they had not been born yet.  New proof of the adage that those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.  I can't guess your age, but I still remember the introduction of the removable disk -- a rigid 14 inch aluminum platter that stored an amazing 128kb or in that era's terms 64 boxes of punch cards!!!.  We were soooo glad to have it -- lol.

leaman.crews
leaman.crews

@cfostel I'm not defending cloud, as my company has done very little in this regard; most of our services that could be labeled "cloud" are privately hosted, in-house.  But I'd guess the biggest problem with your wife's place of employment is that they have no dedicated IT staff.  If it is a private clinic, there's a less than 1% chance they have any IT staff at all.  On the more likely chance that the clinic is part of some larger medical group, the IT staff is holed up in a hospital office building several miles away.  Now, I'm not saying that IT can prevent lines being cut and other telco problems, but they can plan things like redundant Internet service and even check out these cloud services before buying them to see if there is any procedure for working offline.


The biggest problem with cloud services is that they are sold as not needing an IT staff to support them.  They supposedly "just work" and "support" is there 24/7.  We should know by now that any software that is critical to your business needs dedicated IT staff to support it, nothing "just works" and remote phone support by some disinterested party is not sufficient.

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