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The Cloud is Like . . . Drugs?

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The Cloud is Like . . . Drugs?

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Cloud smoke“Cloud projects are failing.” Ian Rae, CEO of CloudOps Research when talking about the hype and offering advice on how to execute cloud strategy. The Keynote Panel at Cloud Connect today seemed to be in universal agreement that moving to cloud isn’t the same as flipping a switch. It involves considering what’s best for the organization and making choices that allow for a thoughtful move to cloud.

The consensus was that along the way, that may involve several stages where choices include leave-in-place, private cloud and public cloud, all coexisting. Organizations saying, “We’ll be all cloud in x years” are likely to push cloud projects to the failure point no differently than the outcome of too many pre-cloud projects.

Anyone too excited about the brave new world of cloud should take a minute to reread those paragraphs….it is a journey, not a decision.

Drug analogies

In a funny sideline, a comment was made about youthful indiscretion and gateway drugs, a point Ian continued when he said:

Clearly, there is an appropriate analogy of people in the enterprise sneaking out back and using cloud without permission. Organizations have tried to shut this down by disallowing expensing of cloud solutions by employees and other tactics. Enterprises need to ‘legalize’ cloud as a drug.

While this was a great moment of levity, it was also a key point for leaders to take on board. Your people will go where it makes sense.

Private cloud mandates

This brings up an additional point that I’ve experienced personally. No matter how hard IT may try, it’s is very hard to tell organizations to stop using public cloud and only use what IT has decided is the preferred infrastructure as a service. There needs to be a business/IT strategy that comes together in continuous cycles to lead the organization to the best possible outcome.

I chased down Ian Rae after his panel and he offered a further explanation of his view:

The panel talked about open source in very positive terms. I’d warn that the line of business is looking for that time to value and business benefit and open source is useful to the extent that it supports the value chain and provides a ‘composalbe platform‘ (see James Urquart on GigaOM). Open source does at the platform level but applications being deployed on cloud platforms are largely proprietary. Cloud represents a new way of engineering with new design approaches but also new operating models. This transition is complicated and it’s going to take a long time.”

Ian has a great perspective on the present circumstances and the road ahead for Cloud. I can say that because it agrees with my own :-) .

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