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Parsing The Cloud

Dan Woods provides an interesting analysis in Forbes, Parsing The Cloud, on where Cloud Computing may be going next.† He makes a good case that the cloud will become more complex and diverse. He offers four drivers of this diversity.

First, compliance is going to happen. Governments have already stepped in. The Swiss banking laws dictate that computers storing customer information must be housed inside its borders. Other countries may follow so they can tax, inspect, or otherwise exert control.

Network topology will also affect the speed of data access. Different industries have different speed requirements and this may lead to the market verticalization of clouds.

Levels of services and associated costs will be another driver. Dan suggested that it is even possible that companies wanting the highest quality of service and the least risk of failure will hire a cloud company to create a private label cloud for them.

Dan suggests that a fourth driver will be application and tool expertise. Clouds will develop to run specific types of applications, such as CRM, ERP, supply chain, manufacturing, retail applications, etc. This would further enable teams to move focus away from managing applications, and focus on managing the processes themselves.

However in reading this I would add a fifth item to the menu for cloud apps: reliability. What is the level of testing and validation? How do your know the data coming in is accurate? Are continuous tests part of the process?

With Cloud Computing thought already spanning to government compliance issues and "right sizing" on a per-industry, and possibly per-organization basis, we are going to see a much stronger need to verify that our use of cloud resources is meeting specific business needs in a responsible fashion.


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