Is Infrastructure moving to the clouds?

November 3, 2007

Is Infrastructure moving to the clouds?

Now that I am back from my trek to Redmond, I have time to come back to earth and think about what I heard. I think that several issues surfaced in my mind. Here are the three key issues that I think are worth more time:

1. We are at a turning point in enterprise computing. I predict that we are moving into the cloud as the focal point for enterprise infrastructure.

2. How much complexity do customers need to be exposed to? Distributed computing is hard and requires a new level of complexity that we haven’t seen before outside of small implementations and experiments.

3. What does it mean for the balance of power in the software industry? Whenever there are monumental changes in technology and customer strategy the shape of the industry changes.

Here’s my quick take on these issues. I’ll keep writing about this. In the meantime, I would love to start a dialog with you on these issues. So, if you agree, disagree or just think this is irrelevant, I would like to hear from you.

What about that cloud? What is an infrastructure cloud? Without getting into too much is a complex computing infrastucture that is hosted by an infrastructure provider that provides access to services ranging from access to storage, electronic mail, applications, etc. In some cases, this infrastructure can be well designed and scalable; in other situations the provider can cobble together a mess that is hidden from customers.

I don’t think that anyone owns this model yet but some company will. It will be the company that provides a scalable, well-designed, distributed infrastucture. This is what is trying to do with its Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2). It is what Google will pursue with all of its applications. However, Google’s first “official” cloud computing announcement is a joint educational venture with IBM. It is also at the heart of Microsoft’s Oslo initiative via its “Internet Service Bus”. I also expect that IBM, Oracle, and HP will get into the mix. Is there room for Apple with a Google partnership? How about

I am not ready to pick a winner(s). That is what makes this transition so interesting. A vendor doesn’t necessarily need a massive set of packaged applications or a huge sales force to gain traction. Does it avoid questions about operating systems? Does it matter if the software in the cloud is proprietary or open source? How much will the customer care? Maybe a lot right now. But who knows what we will think five years from now.

The one thing that I will predict is that the software industry is about to be turned upside down. Now, isn’t that fun?

Cloud Computing
About Judith Hurwitz

Judith Hurwitz is an author, speaker and business technology consultant with decades of experience.

  1. Yes. Infrastructure is moving to the clouds. In fact it is not only infrastructure but also application development ,deployment and operations. In fact the full IT lifeCycle is moving to the clouds. I write about it in

  2. I think some infrastructure will move to the Cloud. I wrote Microsoft Architecture Journal article on this topic ( I do not think all infrastructure SW will move to the Cloud. This mirrors my think about enterprise service buses. There is one view that sees the infrastructure platform as a logical single platform, and even an instance. One of our goals with WebSphere was to make distribution and quality of service transparent to developers. The unit test runtime in the tools should not appear to be different from a large platform deployment. We documented patterns and best practices for applications that help enable this model.

    Infrastructure and ESBs are hierarchical. We design the WebSphere ESB to be
    — Local on a machine
    — Connecting systems in a branch or store, including within a chain
    — At the department level
    — An enterprise backbone

    This is typically transparent to applications, and admin tools try to diminish the complexity. I think infrastructure in the Cloud will be part of this model. We are already seeing Cloud storage being the “new tape” or “disk,” with local storage caches for performance. I will try to write on this topic on my blog site.

  3. I think IBM, Google and Sun joint together, Sun have experience and hardware that prefer for mission critical but Sun not have much money to invest in project like cloud computing. IBM also has past experiences for setting up huge data center plus has knowledge of advance research. What I understand by cloud computing it base on parallel processing which develop on java using Linux at that time MS window not support parallel processing. That gives sun or others who using java more advantage then MS platform user. It seen MS, yahoo and Apple together. Amazon and HP have choose can go with any one of them but Amazon have much advantage over all as they have computing model which not fully but can go fully into cloud computing. is what i understand after all reading they are just my thoughts.

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