What is meant by cloud computing? Cloud computing refers to a technology and business model used by IT with which a user accesses, through the Internet, to IT services that are designed, created, and made available by a company according to the characteristics of flexibility, scalability of resources, dynamic provisioning, pay-per-use, and self-service.
This model decouples the roles, both as regards the responsibilities both as regards their location.
For this reason we may have, and increasingly are being established, the cloud models, in which those services are used, are in a different location to those designing and those who then delivers the service.
The model is now widespread in the end-user world — think of the consumer applications store — but it is also becoming popular in the enterprise world.
This means that we speak of cloud as part of the industrialization of IT, where the creation of a service is treated as the creation of a product, and the consumerization of IT as a cloud, where the cloud uses the consumer market, for example, and is organized according to the model of a utility company.
The traditional IT services companies are moving to cloud service models and thereby distribute the roles related to the lifecycle of an IT according to ITIL best practices, in terms of specialization and cost/efficiency ratio.
What do you mean by globalization? A definition that I like says that globalization can be defined as “an extraordinary development of possible relationships, not only economic and financial, while prominent among the different areas of the globe, in ways and times such as to ensure that what happens in an area is reflected in real time on other areas, even the most distant, with results that traditional interpretative models of the economy and society are not currently able to assess, for the simultaneity between the action and the change it produces.”
In this sense, globalization becomes an opportunity to grow economically underdeveloped areas, not only remote, but, for example, even within the same nation, by playing on the cost factor/specialization ratio. This process has created “international fragmented production” processes where production steps can be located in separate areas and geographies.
Why compare cloud and globalization?
Cloud is certainly a form of globalization, very often based on specialization and cost reduction.
A provider of services evolves toward a cloud model because it can produce at lower costs over a wide range of IT services, thanks to standardization. However, a cloud user pays less for a service that is less personalized but certainly faster and better quality.
In doing so the cloud provider disregards the location of the service itself, in the same way a utility provider does with the electricity; in fact it is very difficult for a user to know where the electricity is produced.
Cloud computing forces an IT linked to the paradigms of stiffness and stillness to become increasingly obsolete. The speed that is possible in the provision of new services in a cloud environment—that is, the “time-to-market”—ensures that the cloud model will offset any problems quickly. The transition to cloud will be gradual but not as slow as forecasted a few months ago. In fact more and more service providers are moving to a “cloud provider model” becoming the preferred interface for hardware vendors; in the software market the SaaS is by now a must. Alternatively, we cannot expect to have all cloud in the future, but a coexistence of various models will be the typical scenario to expect.
As usual with new waves of IT, he who hesitates is lost. Inevitably, many roles will be less attractive to the market. If I buy infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for computing and archiving, and not blade or storage, I no longer need skills to monitor systems and SAN. Skills and roles needed in the cloud evolve towards a model of governance of the service rather than managing it. In such, I need more skills, and be able to interpret the data service (reports, service-level agreements or SLA) rather than control it (monitoring, system management).
I think we need to leverage cloud potentials and possibilities. If we are able to study and govern cloud, we can understand potential impacts and we can plan for a correct adoption.
Recent market intelligence reports forecast IaaS and platform as a service (PaaS) becoming a commodity in the short period; this means that if I am a cloud provider I should invest in added value services like software as a service (SaaS) and business process as a service (BPaaS). However, if I am an IT manager I can expect to see better prices in buying IaaS and PaaS, and I should organize my IT department to appointing people to govern cloud providers rather than continue managing the IT.
So, cloud means globalization, and an “Information Cloud Technology” trend is growing—probably it will create some disruptions, but if managed and controlled in the correct way, these can become opportunities and not threats.