Friday, October 31, 2008

Cloud Rush: A quick check on our bounded awareness

My keynote yesterday at CloudCamp and continuous talks with vendors, consumers and niche-vendors tell me that some big things will be happening in this cloud space:

Semi-nationalization of Data Centers? : At some point of time, the need for political stability or to prevent instability will lead to a typical asset grab and ownership of the data centers (or the castles that own the data and knowledge of nations/states). Should it have been arranged with the nations/states by vendors such as IBM, Microsoft etc but also smaller challengers such as RackSpace etc, then it should create lesser of friction. Should it have been arranged on different terms, (Revenue sharing, both in good and bad times, again meaning that a not open and non-regulated Cloud Center may be a very dangerous thing to do, if you can look at bit ahead in the future) , then a land/data center grab may lead to many local and glocal consumers, who may lose ownership to their data.

Same thing that is happening to many troubled institutions, who have failed to contain and fulfill the promise in the wake of the credit crisis. Data and the ownership of its very self, is the core of the whole discussion.

I said that in the beginning of this year in my interview that the contraction / consolidation will continue through 2010. This will obviously mean that many Data Center builders may have an additional advantage if they have the members of the state thoroughly involved.

Obviously we don't hope that this form of interventionism will affect the creativity of the very core of what Cloud Computing is meant to be.

Interoperable Formats: Interoperability and heterogeneity are all tied together. You cannot have one without the other. Open formats such as DMTF, OVF, ODF etc are all necessary to allow for such transportability should customers want to move from a Cloud x to Cloud y. This will definitely be an acid test for many customers and the data center builders across the world.

There may be a rush to "just convert those apps to webapps" and we'll see later, but that is a very small and most probably the first step of the many hundreds of steps that are needed before ou start opening our doors to the mass consumer space.

Cloud Computing is the very industrialization of the internet. Lots of open standards out there and they all need to be put into perspective should you really want to build enterprise ready and consumable services on top of it. It is a big challenges and that is already happening , if you vendors like 3Tera doing their very best in trying to make those efforts worthwhile and also globally mass consumable. But obviously a lot has to be done.

Security: At some point of time when the enterprise will start getting ready for the Clouds, governmental intervention will be required, given that in most cases they do have a default chair in the board, a number that is bound to increase as we head towards the Cynefin Dilemma. There are many instances and many discussions which are going across server to server, we're talking here about data center to data center and possibly nation to nation or state to state. So this cannot scape the roving eyes of the law.

So with the advent of the Cloud, which I would normally address as an opening to the Ideation Age, dawn of the new era, I also caution the ones who are today busy with their own proprietary formats, that a lot is waiting in the dark alley and hopefully the right people/processes have been involved in the decision making phase.

So a lot has to be done and hopefully businesses, if they can show that they thrive without choking each other, then open markets may be allowed to operate as they do now. Should that not be the case, I do sometimes worry about the Cloud rush where billions of dollars are being spent to build those data centers across the globe.

Link to another blog on Vendor Lock-in and similar issues.

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