Cloud Computing is more than a tech jargon or a buzzword that defies gravity. Many Enterprises have some experience already in the “outsourced” design/development/deploykment and Hosting of their Applications. It is like the old story of “Payroll” or “401k” in-house applicaitons transformed & outsourced to ADP & Fidelity. The earlier generation of Business process outsourcing came up with its own IT hosted solutions that resided in the “Provider’s” Datacenter that hosted multiple tenants providing great TCO to Enterprise Clients.
Now with the Virtulaization layer and Anything as a Service [XaaS] , the model defined by NIST [ http://www.nist.gov/itl/cloud/upload/cloud-def-v15.pdf ] has a lot of potential avenues for realization. The consolidation of Data centers, Application Transformation and Consoiidation in a large portfolio of IT applications are very good candidates for assesssment /pre-qualification to a Cloud Services rendition.
There are many usecases for using Cloud Services as an alternative to traditional BUY/BUILD/DEVELOP/DEPLOY lifecycle of IT Procurement to providing usefull applications. A sampling of the large vendor like Google will reveal the adoption of G-mail and Google Apps. Take a look at Business Customer views @ http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/customers/index.html
and Government users @ http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/government/index.html
Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS Cloudsolutions and large number of Cloud Provider vendors are working on the next generation of Cloud Enabled Application & Hosting Environments. The software licensing models from large IT vendors is subject to change as large organizations make efforts to move to any combo of Public, Private or Hybrid Cloud environments. The integration landscape for Enteprrises will be becoming more challenging to have a single application spanning multiple clouds and connecting to inhouse backend systems.
ERP vendors are not alone these days – SAP , Oracle and IBM with its Marketing (Unica) and BI platforms are all out looking above at the Clouds at large to provide relief to mounting Infrastructure costs that stall their progress. Elastic Compute and decreasing Network costs are attracting more software vendors to move to this delivery model. The Enteprise customers will gain reasonable reduction in TCO – total cost of ownership. Some may say this is RENT vs OWN era but careful contract negotaitions by IT teams with Cloud & Network providers can mean fast Time to Market , TTM that business customers always wanted.
So take a look at the Cloud and welcome the Spring & Summer of 2011 with a lot of Cloud Solutions and Services offering – picking the right ones that make sense for the Enterprise.