Thursday, February 19, 2009

WebServices killed EAI. Cloud Computing/SaaS kills what?

Cloud computing/SaaS has the potential to virtually eliminate Internal IT completely from the enterprises. The widespread adoption of confirms the fact that operational functions - such as HR, Sales/Marketing – today has the ability to bypass Internal IT departments and go ahead to procure the On-Demand applications of their choice. Is it a threat to Internal IT? Ok, that is a different point of discussion altogether.

But, today, I thought I would write about the role of Technologies in the context of Cloud Computing Space. The very fact that applications being pushed out of the firewall to an external service provider literally ‘masks’ or ‘virtualizes’ the complexity in the architecture and technology behind those applications. The simple/direct consumers of do not need to know the complexities such as its architecture, technology, etc. They all need to know the consumption details of services.

In fact, Cloud proponents wish that Business users having the ablility to deploy, consume and compose Cloud Services, without needing technical help. And that’s where the real power of Cloud is waiting to be unleashed!

Here is another story from In a recent survey, CEOs perceive that packaged applications are more reliable than Internal IT developed. And they don’t really care what platform/technology the apps are running on. All they need is business performance and SLAs.

In conclusion, Business desires for Solutions isolated from the complexities of Technology and Platforms. That leads to the need for more ‘abstraction’. Just like WebServices came few years ago and provided the much needed abstraction behind heterogenous platforms, Cloud Computing/SaaS is destined to make significant changes in the Technology industry.

In the context of Cloud computing and provisioning business services to end-consumers, Does the end-consumer really care whether it is serviced by Java or .NET platform?. Not really?. Do they care if it runs on Linux or Windows ? May not be. Would they be worried if it runs on Open Source or Commercial platforms?. Again, Not seriously. It’s the SLA and the integrity of Services that matter to the end-consumer.

This trend will influence the procurement/adoption/experimentation trends of Technologies and Open source frameworks within the walls of Enterprise IT. We may not see wide-spread forums / communication across Enterprise IT users in the long run, as it will get influenced and diffused by Service Providers.

It is the Service Providers who will majorly nurture and develop the platforms and Technologies and not necessarily Enterprise IT shops. That’s a significant shift in the ecosystem of Technology. We could expect umpteen number of small and medium service providers providing pointed solutions in niche industry segments. And it is the Service Providers who will contribute and shape the Technology / Infrastructure & Framework landscape. And Enterprise IT will be forced to provide more value towards real business solutions.

And I also foresee significant consolidation in the Platforms / Infrastructure space. Why do we need various kinds of application servers in the Cloud, while the end objective is driven by performance?

A new market is emerging where we will see hybrid tools and technologies that will enable Enterprise IT shops to manage their data centre operations as well as their Public Cloud operations together from a single window. Am sure IBM is working on such a ‘Hybrid Tivoli’ tools and systems. In fact, one of the interesting note that I read was IBM is working on some sort of ‘Cloudburst’ feature where the load from Internal data centre is dynamically distributed to public cloud and seamlessly serviced! Wow!.

As I wrote before, We are going to witness a highly decentralized, but centrally managed ecosystem for Enterprise IT.

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