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Roger Strukhoff

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Opinion

Is Long-Term Planning Possible for Cloud Computing?

A Peak into the Cloud Computing Echo Chamber

Whether the blogosphere and Intertubes are echo chambers or a house or mirrors depends upon one's perspective, so to speak. In any case, it's fun to surf around a bit and find articles that report on articles. In fact, this report is such a report, but my report questions a basic premise I've been seeing recently: that the long-term persepctive is essential in a company's cloud strategy. (My report is based on something I just read by EDL Consulting, which in turn picked up a story from one of those publications from that really big Boston-based publishing company I worked for years ago.)

Taking the long view, having a long-term strategy, thinking over the long haul, etc. is one of those things that one can hardly argue against without sounding flippant. Well, of course companies should take the long-term view when considering major capital investments and paradigm shifts with their enterprise IT! But the reality is that this is simply not possible. Just as Monty Python pointed out years ago that nobody expected the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expected the economic meltdown in 2008, the effects of which linger today.

Well, actually, everyone expected the meltdown. But no one knew exactly when it was going to occur. You can bet that when it did occur, that every long-term plan in every company of any size was immediately trashed, er, "revised."

The key to cloud computing is its flexibility. Sure, it's being touted for cost efficiency, but that seems to me to be woefully unproven. Just as all those folks who set up vast outsourced operations in India in the name of cost efficiency, only to find out that the huge inefficiency of their sub-continental compatriots led to overall cost increases when all was said and done, it seems to me that the touted efficiency of cloud computing can be easily subverted if and when things go wrong, ie, at that moment when an enterprise realizes by handing over much control of IT to a utility provider, they've lost the ability to fix things with the urgency of the past.

Cloud computing's most compelling argument to me is its flexibility, its ability to provide spigots that we can open as narrowly or as widely as we need to, when we need to. This does not represent long-term thinking. In fact, it represents something far more important: the ability to react in the short term, even in real-time to whatever in hell is going on with our business.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.