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Cloud Evangelists, I Want to Believe. Really.

by Administrator on April 24, 2014

Forrester just released a rosy outlook for clouds, estimating a $191 B market by 2020.  This is a “hypergrowth phase,” replacing “an exploratory phase” — whatever that means.  In any case, the news seems to have given the cloudies a huge…well, uplifted their spirits.

I wish I had the tendency toward confirmation bias that would make me cheer at this “news.”  I really want to believe.  Really.

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I want to believe that cloud computing is actually an improvement on traditional computing.   But where is the improvement in substantive areas like universal infrastructure management or comprehensive data management?

I want to believe that cloud computing will save money and enhance service levels.  In 2005, IDC said we were to see all that server virtualization and cloud stuff start paying dividends once the CAPEX spend ended in 2009.  We are still spending an awful lot of CAPEX to try to make this stuff work.

I want to believe that cloud computing decouples computing activity from the hardware or software hegemony of any vendor — that it is completely vendor agnostic.  Ask Cisco about SDN.  Or Big Switch.  Vendors will not go quietly into that good night of open computing without a fight.

I want to believe that cloud computing is at least as secure if not more secure than traditional computing.  But access is across a Public Network or WAN.  Can you say HeartBleed?  What about NSA?  Ask the DoD what happened when their contractor uploaded the specs to the new stealth fighter to the DoD cloud:  hint, there is no longer any reason to build the fighter because the other side has all the specs.

I want to believe that standards exist for all aspects of cloud computing so that interoperability of all the moving parts is guaranteed and inter-cloud migration and sharing is as effortless as swiping your finger across a gorilla glass representation of your distributed infrastructure while drinking a pina colada poolside at your favorite Florida resort. (What the heck, the pina colada will taste just as good without the cloud.)

I want to believe that cloud computing doesn’t depend on flimsy, powered-by-Jenga! x86 hypervisors to instantiate workload.  A mainframe is a cloud already and one app failing won’t cause the whole stack to fail.  Long live LPARs, PRISM, and 30 years of debugging. So where are all of the mainframe-based clouds?

I want to believe that clouds are not a race to the bottom in technology.  I know, some may argue that IT can’t get any worse.  But this Starbuckification of IT that some of the cloudies are seeking promises a brew that, like Starbucks, tastes like the coffee that has been cooking too long and is burned at the bottom of the pot.

I want to believe that cloud is not just a pretty wrapper placed around IT outsourcing that always accompanies foul economic weather.  Didn’t we see this during the Reagan Recession (Service Bureau Computing) or in the DotCom Debacle (ASP/SSP)?  I have been told that I am wrong about this by pretty bright folks, but it comes as little surprise that Clouds appeared just as the global economy went into meltdown in the Great Recession.

I want to believe all of the good stuff about clouds, dang it.  Somebody tell me how I get there without this approach…

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