Will the cloud change service management? Will it eliminate the cost and effort of managing your IT services? Will it allow IT to become a commodity and save your brain from all the complex thoughts needed to manage IT well?
No. (I guess you thought I would say that)
As with all new technologies, smart companies with smart management and smart IT people will make use of the cloud and save costs, provide a very stable and well performing and scalable IT environment. And following the smart companies there will be a wave of others which will start using the cloud with the worst of all reasons for change: “Me Too”. Don’t take me wrong, I encourage learning from other companies. But targets and goals should be your own.
So how can the cloud save you money? It can provide you with a cheap, stable and scalable, but strongly standardized, infrastructure. So all the applications and services you want to place into the cloud have to run on this standard environment.
- The application has to be developed to the cloud providers standard (like David Chappel points out in his post about saving money with the cloud).
- The use of tooling, management and monitoring instrumentation will be standardized to the cloud providers choices.
- The processes and communication paths will be standardized as well.
So how exactly can companies that have failed to standardize their IT portfolio, have a riff-raff of development platforms and environments, that have not standardized their processes and work basically on a hey-Joe principle start benefiting from the cloud? Only mature IT departments will reap the price, while the cloud providers will live from all the others paying the cheque.
Also remember that switching from one cloud provider to the next will be even more hard than switching from one outsourcing provider to the next. Your applications may be incompatible with the new provider, your employed processes will probably have to change drastically and you have no infrastructure anymore, which would still run even if serviced badly.
So: Be careful in jumping on to “THE CLOUD”. Only the once that know what they do can stand on a cloud without falling through.