Cloud Computing Expands Mandate, Influence - InformationWeek

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Commentary
6/17/2010
05:42 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary
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Cloud Computing Expands Mandate, Influence

At this point in its evolution, cloud computing remains mostly identified with software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (including storage) (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). But the cost effectiveness of virtualized, dispersed, multi-tenant computing services is making the cloud appropriate and appealing in all manner of digital arenas.

At this point in its evolution, cloud computing remains mostly identified with software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (including storage) (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). But the cost effectiveness of virtualized, dispersed, multi-tenant computing services is making the cloud appropriate and appealing in all manner of digital arenas.

First, on the consumer side, attendees as this week's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles witnessed the expansion of the video game market in the cloud. At least three companies said they would provide game services that let users play popular titles online through a browser or a hand-held device.

The argument could be made that cloud computing started on the consumer side. Google's search engine was the first experience most people had with interacting with the cloud. Cloud computing evolved as part of the "consumerization of IT" movement, and personal productivity applications remain a significant element of the cloud market.

Second, on the enterprise side, is the gradual introduction of, and increasing enterprise interest in, "communications-as-a-service" (CaaS). A recent post by Fredric Paul at TechWeb's "Enterprise Efficiency" blog brought up the topic, based on a Forrester Research report (subscription required), then cast a bit of doubt on its development as an enterprise-ready service.

According to Paul, CaaS fits the definition of cloud computing: "It's different from traditional 'hosted' communications systems because the service providers don't maintain a dedicated application, instead using a secure, multi-tenant platform, and charge for services consumed." But the concept may be running ahead of firms' ability to provide the service. "CaaS offerings remain fragmented and incomplete," Paul writes.

Still, the fact that business areas as diverse as video games and telecom are showing interest in leveraging the cloud seems significant, and inevitable. The more comfortable consumers (especially young gamers), as well as employees, managers, and executives, get interacting with the cloud, the more businesses will look to leverage its advantages.At this point in its evolution, cloud computing remains mostly identified with software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (including storage) (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS). But the cost effectiveness of virtualized, dispersed, multi-tenant computing services is making the cloud appropriate and appealing in all manner of digital arenas.

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