Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

Summary: Clouds will bring business model success to some open source companies, while for others it will lead only to grief.


A bubbleAn Evans Data survey saying 40% of application developers want to sell their stuff from the clouds, and the resulting backlash against clouds, leads to the obvious question.

Are we about to face a cloud boom or a cloud bubble?

The answer, in my view, is it's a little of both.

There is something inherently frothy about every new technology. I can't remember one, in all my 25 years covering this business, that did not begin with unbridled enthusiasm, followed by tears, but then followed by real progress.

This was true for the PC, for LANs, for multimedia, the Internet, even open source. Each new trend is an open door, to which everyone rushes. But not everyone gets through.

Clouds are going to be that way. Some applications will adopt well to SaaS -- some already have. Others won't and in a few years we'll wonder why we thought they would.

This is just the way of the technology world. Clouds will bring business model success to some open source companies, while for others it will lead only to grief. This does not make the cloud vision false.

Just, for those of us looking forward, a bit cloudy.[poll id=99]

Topics: Open Source, Browser, CXO, Cloud, Emerging Tech

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  • Salesforce blows

    I'm so tired of every idiot tech reporter talking about how great salesforce is.

    Working with them is a nightmare. They have stupidity and ineptitude coupled with arrogance. They don't even support record locking for integration. That's CS 101 stuff.

    Vendor lock-in? And how!

    They force upgrades on us. No option, just you will be upgraded on this date, here's your 30 days notice. Fine for mom and pop shops with no real IT infrastructure but these guys are amateurs that were just in the right place at the right time.

    They are absolutely the perfect example of how this is a bubble. When people realize how screwed they are with SFDC, the bubble will pop.
  • How Many Can Exist?

    To an extent, how many areas in cloud computing do you see a million competitors with a couple on top, maybe one or two below those, and then a slough of startups that are going nowhere and are in no way monetizing what they have.

    The truth, at least in my opinion, is that we will have a bit of a bubble burst, but not to the damaging effect of the .com one a few years back
  • RE: Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

    This is the premise of Gartner's hype cycle, which in
    theory all technologies go through:

    Wyatt Peak
  • Don't believe the hype

    Ran across this the other day:

    In the end it we'll wind up with a mix of local and "cloud computing". The simple fact is, most businesses will not entrust third parties to be the repositories of their data.

    You can quickly get mired in support issues. Remember all the fuss about outsourcing once upon a time? Everything from customer support (call centers) to IT organizations? Years ago while doing a brief contract at Sears' corporate headquarters in Illinois that was the talk there, of outsourcing its IT operations to Computer Sciences Corporation. Yet before not too long Sears wasn't pleased with said outsourcing and the wheels of litigation were set in motion:,10801,101910,00.html

    So imagine it is the critical money making holiday season and it seems the various "cloud computers" provisioned to you by a service provider are having "issues". You make a desperate phone call as you see holiday revenue evaporating at the seconds hand makes its way around the clock and your provider says "Well get back to you" as they open a trouble ticket that might take a day or more to get looked at (best case) or a week (worst case).

    "Cloud computing" isn't a panacea and the term in and of itself doesn't mean much. The reality is, we already leverage "the cloud" in many ways. Tech companies are wont to create lots of hype and this is just the next paradigm sh*t, er, shift.

    If anything I see "cloud computing" services such as that of Amazon's as good way to cut costs at the first tier as far as customer facing applications. Ultimately though, such data is likely to be shuffled in batch to secondary systems that do fulfillment, accounting, is stored long term for business intelligence, etc., etc.

    But going back to what I said earlier, if the purveyors of cloud computing think businesses are going to completely entrust them with all their data, they're nuts. A tangent and microcosm of this was Microsoft's attempt of being the gatekeeper of identity with its Passport service. Outside of Microsoft using it for their various consumer sites - it never went anywhere.

    • RE: Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

      Some applications will adopt well to SaaS, some already have.<a href=""><font color="LightGrey"> k</font></a>
  • Are you looking for better or cheaper?

    The difference between onsite hardware & software and hosted hardware and software is cost. Every company knows that having your own hardware, and your own developers offers you a greatly customized environment that can adapt to your needs as they change. However, the problem is the high cost of such a setup.

    On the other hand hosted software isn't always the best bet. Sure it's seemingly cheap, but what happens when the hosting company runs into some financial trouble and can no longer afford to offer the service? When the migration is your own, you can manage it at your own pace, but things get a lot more difficult when you don't own the platform.

    So what does all of this mean for cloud services? Like everything in the IT world, you need a backup. Cloud services are extremely useful and should be used, but never relied upon to the point where you can't survive without it. I like Microsoft's interpretation of "Software and Services" (SaS), and not "Software as a Service" (SaaS). The main difference is that SaaS puts everything in the cloud, while SaS uses the cloud to enhance the capabilities of your onsite software.

    Twitter is a great example here, where Twitter is the service. You have various software applications that use Twitter's service as an enhancement. So you can have an inventory system, for example, that will send a Tweet to your customers when you change the price of an item, or when you're running a special.

    SaaS, depending on how it's implemented, doesn't always offer you that flexibility that you get from SaS.
    General C#
  • A cloud is yet another tool

    Some things work well in the cloud and some don't. It's really that simple.
  • If you want a job done right...

    For me it's a matter of trust. I do not trust ANYONE else with my data.

    I'm a system developer and formerly a programmer. I have seen so many apps that appear to work at the interface level, but the data is being horribly butchered behind the scenes.
    I will NEVER store anything in the cloud.

    I'd say the unwashed masses will love the cloud to start with....get bit in the arse with a major loss of data and then never use it again.

  • Engineering failures?

    Who thinks this stuff out before implementing?
  • RE: Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

    We're new to SalesForce and find that it is very agreeable. We're on a very firm IT backbone and have a couple of developers dedicated to maintaining and building interfaces, but it seems to be the new shining star in our corporation. I believe it all comes down to what you want it to do against what it can do. Some corporations don't know what they want it to do so it becomes a Christmas tree without a theme. Dozens of different ornaments hung on random branches. If you theme your development and know what you want it to accomplish, the cloud is the way to go.
  • The less programs on my PC the better...

    The less programs on my PC the better it seems to run and the better I like it! There is too much to like about the concept of cloud computing. Apps are hosted and ran from the web and the data remains stored on redundantly backed up servers. This eliminates the worry and expense of local data backups. All the paranoia about your data being stored online is just that, paranoia. Its the year 2009, bring on Cloud Computing!
    • My favorite cloud application...

      automated back-up. Come in when I'm asleep and clone
      my hard drive in a secure location (or thousands of
      such location) so I don't have to worry about losing
      genius posts like this one...
  • RE: Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

    I like what seanaM762 said. A common factor in success for IT investment is when the buyer has realistic expectations about what a product/service can do.
  • RE: Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

    You know the older I get, the more I find that history repeats itself. Cloud computing is nothing more than a 21st century manifestation of the old mainframe and dumb terminal arrangement from the 70's and 80's. For all its supposed benefits, most users couldn't wait to get off the mainframe and purchase/install application software on their PCs. They did not want to be dependent on an entity beyond their direct control to be productive. i.e. They don't need a mainframe or internet connection to do word processing or create a spreadsheet. Even as internet connectivity becomes ubiquitous, I believe most people will continue to want their key applications available to them on their PCs. I see cloud computing as a bubble - a new generation has to learn why this model was (for the most part) abandoned years ago.
  • The Cloud scares the hell out of me. It feels like DRM.

    I can't think of a worse implementation of technology than DRM but I also can't get over the feeling that that's all the cloud really is about. It's a new system of DRM using a subscription model. I like the 'idea' I just have a gut feeling the implementation is going to be botched.
    • DRM was botched

      DRM didn't make the recording companies money. It made
      Steve Jobs money. This was not in the plan.

      In college we used to call this IBD, as in Innocent
      Bystander Drilled.
      • Not really

        It had unintended consequences to be sure, like making Steve Jobs richer than he already was.

        Still, it harkened back to the days when you had to plug a "key" into a parallel port to run 1-2-3 and other "high end" apps.

        Didn't work, of course, but it was tried.

        DRM hasn't really worked either except to make life hell for legit users of music and movies. Those who paid for it and just want to play it back on another device or even back it up.

        It certainly hasn't worked for the recording (separate from the much larger music) industry or the motion picture industry.

        Actually the cloud is round 2 of application service providers and that went nowhere in a hurry.

        Meanwhile journalists and programmers get excited and promise the moon only to deliver a tiny pebble.


  • Cloud is a trap

    Admiral Ackbar say : "It's a (damn) trap"

    The current cloud works average well, not so fancy or pretty clockwork, just well.

    But sooner or later they will move the cloud to another place, east europe, China, India... just named it, places where they don't care about ethics, privacy and/or quality.

    The advantage of the cloud is your system can be placed anywhere and you don't really need to known where is it, but this advantage is for the service provider not for the real customer.

    And, a software can (is) a company asset. So (in the case of) you want to sell your company, then the software, hardware and building count as a part of the sale as a economic resource. In opposite, a service is not a resource, just a single expensive (and sometimes worker are not considered as a accounting resource but a expensive).
    • Me likey Star Wars references

      And notice it's an "old school" reference. None of
      that Jar Jar Binks nonsense.

      Seriously, you also have some great thoughts here. I
      especially like the last point, about software being a
      company asset. What if the software is open source --
      is the asset's value then detached from its economic
      cost and/or the work it does for the company?

      Accountants, please?
  • RE: Cloud boom or cloud bubble?

    It is going to happen and sooner then later. Fear of privacy-Get over it.
    We already provide our Telco with almost all our most inportant and private information, just think about what they have now and are protecting for us as we speak.
    Just wait and see how easy it will all be when the new Service Providers combine these Hosted Services with a new Virtual PC that lives off the Cloud and does not require any support.

    Jim A