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The Gathering Storm: Cloud Computing

February 5, 2008

I have a feeling that Nick Carr’s book The Big Switch will set off the largest debate about information technology this year. It is certainly an engaging book; Carr is an excellent writer. His vision for computer hardware utility documents an emerging trend within the information technology industry. I believe a trend that will increase for the foreseeable future.

Storage expert Robin Harris counters noting that networking is currently a bottleneck and that only Google is able to make cloud computing work. I think Mr. Harris is correct that networks are going to hinder this process. I, however, disagree concerning the Google magic that Yahoo and Microsoft are unable to reproduce. Google’s two competitors are unable to compete head to head, but there are other providers like Amazon Web Services, Sungard, EMC, and SAP already pushing into the services product space.

Cloud computing certainly seems like a marketing buzzword. Progression towards IT services will be slower and much more painful than suit clad sales consultants would have you believe, but organizations will trim non-core operations where they can. I have seen Fortune 500 organizations outsource their entire HR operations. IT will be that next step in corporate streamlining. The next 20 years will be stormy in the IT industry. The change will be dramatic.

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