Global CIO: Top 10 Stories Of 2010: New Strategies, Platforms, & CEOs
Our list of this year's top IT issues sheds some bright light on the technologies and companies CIOs will be betting on in 2011.
#11, aka Bonus Entry: Microsoft's Muddling. Is it still an enterprise powerhouse, or struggling to remain relevant in a rapidly changing world? Can Microsoft compete with a set of very large and talented rivals that spend all of their time and energy and money solving enterprise problems, while Microsoft's focus is split between the consumer world and the business world? My colleague Rob Preston recently wrote that the in-vogue bashing of Microsoft seems rather pointless as the company, year after year and quarter after quarter, racks up astonishing profits and steady revenue?
Until early in 2010, I had grave doubts about Microsoft because it seemed unable to mount a determined effort to show its willingness to drive corporate-IT innovation, and instead seemed intent on milking its massive installed Office base while tinkering with some online models as well. But in early March, Steve Ballmer made the "All In" pledge for cloud computing, and that appears to be an effort Microsoft's rallying to own.
The problem for Microsoft is that every other major IT company—plus a lot of not-so-major players—are doing the same thing, as we spell out below in #10. (The Microsoft-related "Recommended Reading" list comes after #10 below.)
#10: Cloud Computing's Ascent. In the past year, EMC, VMware, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft, and now even Oracle have openly and aggressively stepped forward to embrace cloud computing as a real, legitimate, and vital new approach to today's daunting IT-infrastructure challenges.
Larry Ellison wants to clarify the fractured definitions of just what cloud means, and since Oracle's new Exalogic "cloud in a box" happens to tack toward the well-established Amazon model, it's not surprising that Ellison says that's the real way to define cloud computing. Software-only models, he says, are more accurately SaaS versions—but without the inclusion of expansive infrastructure and management tools, they don't qualify as true cloud computing.
To be sure, those philosophical models will endure for some time to come—but, in spite of that, CIOs are finding plenty of ways to utilize various approaches without becoming paralyzed over the taxonomic tweaking that industry insiders are pursuing. So the big story is that the broad concept is real and is undergoing rapid adoption, and that customers have become very comfortable with all the stratifications across public,private, hybrid and such. So expect lots more of that uptake across the cloud spectrum in 2011—regardless of definitions.
Coming tomorrow: profound changes in what CIOs do, and what's expected from them.
RECOMMENDED READING FOR #10, "CLOUD COMPUTING'S ASCENT":