The Stealthy Rise of the Public Cloud - InformationWeek

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Commentary
9/29/2010
03:35 PM
David Linthicum
David Linthicum
Commentary
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The Stealthy Rise of the Public Cloud

Amazon is sneaking into larger enterprises, displacing some systems development technology, much like Google displaced Yahoo. The penetration has been so stealthy that many in the press and analyst communities have ignored the rise of the public clouds in the traditional big enterprises.

Amazon Web Services are rising without many taking notice, according to Stephen O'Grady at Redmonk. "Maybe it's the lingering perception that they're just a retailer, but the lack of a healthy fear of Amazon is still curious. Even as players large and small acknowledge the dominance of AWS within the public cloud computing market, the lack of an immune response to its continued expansion defies simple explanation."

The truth of the matter is that Amazon, while clearly popular in the SMB space as are other public clouds, is sneaking into the larger enterprises to displace some larger systems development technology, much like Google displaced Yahoo. The penetration has been so stealthy that many in the press and analyst communities have ignored the rise of the public clouds in the traditional big enterprises.Of course, it's not only Amazon's AWS. Rackspace, GoGrid, and other public IaaS clouds have also been steadily penetrating the larger enterprises out there, one project at a time. Public clouds are the paths of least resistance considering that you avoid many time-wasting budget and acquisition meetings before you write a single line of code. I remember my days working in a Fortune 10 company, attending meeting after meeting just to get hardware and software purchased, and months to get the space in the data center.

The public cloud changes all of that. You can allocate the servers and tools you need with a credit card, only getting billed for the time you use. Monthly bills typically run well under $1,000, and thus stay off the radar screens of finance. I suspect that the majority of IaaS cloud use is also not known to the IT leadership, much like the rise of Salesforce.com earlier this decade when IT had to adopt Saleforce.com because everyone was already running it.

IT leadership is focused on private clouds these days and perhaps not noticing that public clouds are getting traction in the enterprise coming up from the developers. Private clouds are really knock-offs of public cloud computing, but considering that they require hardware and software to be purchased and maintained, they don't provide the high value of public cloud computing. However, they are more palatable than public clouds for most of those in IT who are not yet willing to give up control to a public cloud computing provider.

I suspect that the rise of the public cloud will continue without much measurement or fanfare from the press or analysts who are spending their time watching the larger enterprise players who are pushing private cloud computing to boost their own hardware and software sales. The public cloud will infiltrate developer-by-developer, project-by-project, until a critical mass is achieved and once again IT follows, rather than leads.Amazon is sneaking into larger enterprises, displacing some systems development technology, much like Google displaced Yahoo. The penetration has been so stealthy that many in the press and analyst communities have ignored the rise of the public clouds in the traditional big enterprises.

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