Wednesday, February 06, 2013

A brief parable on cloud computing.

Cloud computing. Was anything ever more attractively named? Nobody knows what it means, but it sure sounds modern. So vendors take their products, insert ‘cloud’ into the name, and make new sales materials. Look, we're up to date!

The customer execs think it's the wave of the future, because their fellow execs all read it in the trade press and the vendor materials. Hey, we should do that. Leave the details to the techies, what us leaders need to do is point the way. March into the clouds, folks!

The vendor salesmen love how undefined it is. Everybody sees what they want - fluffy bunnies, ponies, trees, and so fort. They're bright, and pretty, and out of reach. Don't see what you want? Wait a minute, it'll come along. Look, there it is! Quick, write a check.

Clouds cast big shadows, and everybody is affected by them. Periodically they rain, snow, and strike you with lightning. On hot days they disappear, and when they come back your fluffy bunny has morphed into a castle. Well, not a real castle - it won't really defend you from anything. Besides, in a few minute it'll be something else. But hey, you wanted clouds so you could enable rapid change, didn't you? Well, there you are! Not the change you wanted? Quick, write another check.

Migrating your applications to the cloud? Cool! Are they resilient? Do they recover from component failure by going to the next device of the right type? Oh, you'll have to change that. Here, write a check for one of our consultants.

Just move your existing applications? Sorry, the cloud doesn't support COBOL. Or fortran. Or any of the other languages your applications are written in. Or those special non-standard Oracle features you use. Yeah, you'll pretty much have to rewrite everything from scratch to move into the cloud. Train all your people in Java. Oh, they immediately moved to other companies? Go hire some Java programmers. Sure, they can learn your legacy applications and your business in a few days. Quick, write another check.

Performance is slow? That's because your data is all local, you should move it into the cloud. There, now all your data is now up in the cloud with the application. Somewhere. Mostly. If you paid for enough replication. And backup. Quick, write another check.

What, you're out of money? Hey, where did the salesman go? And why did our development staff quit, don't they have any loyalty in hard times?

Then from over the horizon, the sales and marketing guys spot someone else looking for a panacea. “Hey, mister, ever heard of cloud computing?”

Image shamelessly borrowed from SmallBizTechnology which has a nice little article on the topic here.

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