I understood cloud computing enough in the abstract sense to fuel my interest in learning more in order to think about its implications on information management. I'm now hosting one of my unimportant personal websites and have launched a MediaWiki on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, the current premiere form of this nascent medium. It was challenging and it's certainly not a mission critical platform yet (concerns about backup, etc.). However, it just came out of Beta in October and shows overall promise for information management of the future.
I'm using their hardware and paying for it as I use it. This is like a virtual private server and also similar to a SaaS offering. The major difference, from a user perspective, is the pay-by-use model as opposed to harnessing a fixed amount per month. With cloud, you also get access to a wide variety of hardware without having gone through a major evaluation process or having made a major commitment.
We are already seeing some Information Management vendor ports to cloud, including Vertica and Panorama Software. If this takes off, as for information management, what will it mean? Can somebody say "playground"?
1. Technology will enter into a much tighter cycle of adoption in the marketplace, similar to how songs are now instantly and volume rated on iTunes and the artist can almost calculate their lifetime earnings from the first weekend of release.
2. Enterprise data warehouses will take another blow in Fortune-level accounts as the difficulty of independent data mart deployment drops like the stock market. This may ultimately be good for business analytics if those organizations operate under healthy standards and have master data in place for bringing into their cloud operations.
3. SMBs will follow with quick deployments of their own. However, for SMBs, this may actually mean the enterprise data warehouse, long seen as out of reach.
4. More of these methods of deployment that are alternative to the onsite hosting method will emerge and will integrate their offerings in the cloud. Specifically, I see SaaS offerings taking advantage of the cloud.
Cloud computing shows some real promise for making analytics transparent to and integrated with organizational behavior. In what I expect to be a "flight to value" year of 2009, it is difficult to say if organizations will spend much time in evaluation or much adopting of what little there is available now in the cloud, but in 2010 and beyond, we may begin to see some of the promise of cloud computing realized in information management.
Posted December 22, 2008 8:39 AM
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