From December 23 to January 2, we will re-publish the 10 most read articles of 2014. #2 is this post by Erik van Ommeren that was orginally published on March 17.
Today, Cloud has become part of everyday IT. Either as infrastructure, platform or complete solution, cloud is always an option when innovating business or IT. Sure, there are still barriers for some, and perhaps the ideal form doesn’t always exist for a specific application, but as a concept it has proven its worth. Similarly, the platforms and services available today have proven their stability and viability. Nobody will argue that a Microsoft Cloud will not last, or that Amazon’s cloud offering is but a temporary thing. But where does that leave us? Companies still have all kinds of applications and platforms and will not switch over in one day. Not everything can run in the cloud today, or can it?
And even when we would finally be ‘all cloud’ (if that were the ideal), would we then be tied to one specific cloud vendor? Would we choose one well-integrated ecosystem and stick with that? Or would we end up with a collection of services, big and small, of all kinds of quality? Probably, yes. Unless you want to hand over the keys of your company to Salesforce or whatever company has won your favor, companies would probably still want to be free to try new things, experiment, innovate. This would mean that every company ends up in a hybrid or fragmented cloud.
This does pose a challenge: cloud does not solve all issues automatically, and for now we end up managing cloud AND local resources. Integration across these clouds, for one, is not taken care of, but also the management of the platform as a whole remains a challenge. How do you guarantee stability, availability and integrity across all these services? What if you are attacked by hackers, how do you defend yourself? What kind of control do you still have over the cost and quality of the services you consume? Can you keep track of who has access to which data? There is a lot of talk about the changing role of the IT department, from builders to brokers, from obstacle to accelerator, but one thing remains: operating the integrated stack of technology in line with corporate strategy and governance. One silver lining: here, too, technology is being built to help, providing increasingly simple controls to manage a distributed and flexible cloud (btw: for example our CapGemini/Sogeti SkySight is aimed at this, but also IBM BlueMix seems to be relevant in this space).