The cloud: from artisanal to industrial (part 2)
This post is a follow-up to my first article about the development of cloud computing from 1990 to today. As it reaches adulthood, the cloud model is beginning to seriously impact the strategies of IT and telecom companies.
Online pure players are becoming the industrialists of the public cloud. Their goal: to serve a large number of clients with low-price services.
At the other end of the spectrum, major IT system integrators are transforming their outsourcing contracts into large private or hybrid clouds that offer the same services, but with the flexibility and cost variability inherent to the cloud.
Software publishers are now moving from an exclusive licensing sales structure to a pay-as-you-go model.
And telecom operators—especially Orange—are ideally placed to:
- act as a broker between customers (general public or IT professionals) and application publishers
- enable Infrastructure-as-a-Service offers using their expertise in managing virtual infrastructures (particularly virtual private networks)
- deliver specific application expertise (unified communications, collaboration, contact centers, M2M applications, etc) as a service
The final strategic area is managing fixed and mobile devices. Today PCs, tablets, smartphones and IP phones are components of the "Workspace as a Service." It promises "anytime, anywhere, any device" availability, meaning any communication device can connect with cloud applications at any time.
In addition, regional strategies are being implemented. The European (and particularly French) model is a counterpoint to the United States Patriot Act, which raises serious questions about data localization and use. The European model guarantees data traceability, the reversibility of contracts, and the protection of private data (which is especially important in the healthcare field).
European strategies—including the French national cloud computing alliance, Andromède—are also being developed to confront those of mega data centers in the Western United States.
conclusion: good news
As we can see, the cloud is transitioning from an artisanal mode to an industrial one. This is good news on two fronts:
- national economic growth: the cloud’s flexibility enables entrepreneurs to be more daring by turning information systems into accelerators—rather than inhibitors—of development
- IT consulting firms and service providers: the progressive shift toward cloud information systems is transforming the way IT contributes to company performance
This brings us to the subject of big data, which we will leave for a future post!
image © Yuriy Mazur - Fotolia.com