We are in the last day of 2008 (well, 2009 might already be there for some folks including our own Ben). Yesterday, a friend of mine asked me to identify two significant Cloud related events from 2008. I offered my opinion to him and I also thought it will be a good way to end 2008 at Cloud Avenue by posting my thoughts here.
There are many events I could point towards in 2008. In fact, this year has brought Cloud Computing to the consciousness of the masses. Many in the mass media have talked about this concept and people are well aware of this technology compared to 2007. I also have a very good feeling that 2009 will be much more promising for Cloud Computing (I will post my predictions tomorrow) than 2008. The two significant events in 2008 from my point of view are
- Microsoft jumping into the Cloud Computing bandwagon
- Implementing the interoperability mantra
Many of us hate Microsoft. As an open source evangelist, I just can’t stand them in the previous era. However, we can’t deny their monopoly share in the desktop market. In fact, moving from the desktop world to clouds is a paradigm shift, calling for a totally new way of how we manage our data and applications, new ideas about privacy, etc.. In fact, it shouldn’t surprise us if Microsoft is a non-player in the Cloud marketplace. Big companies, of the previous era, usually lose out when there is a shakeup in the marketplace accompanying a paradigm shift in the technological evolution. Microsoft followed the familiar pattern of resistance to the new shift and, then, tried to rephrase the shift as just a not so significant evolution into Software Plus Services philosophy. Once they realized that the ground under them was vanishing in thin air, they embraced the idea of Cloud Computing (thanks to Ray Ozzie for bringing in a change in Microsoft’s mindset). They have now announced the release of Windows Azure, their PaaS offering, and Office Suite on Web, their SaaS offering, in 2009. For me, Microsoft’s entry is very significant because it will help lure the enterprise dinosaurs into the Cloud Computing bandwagon. Whether we like it or not, we need Microsoft’s help in convincing the enterprises along with IBM and Sun Microsystems. These three companies are going to play a significant role in getting the enterprises to use IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) in the next year or two.
The second significant event in 2008 is the recognition by vendors about the importance of data portability and interoperability. We are far away from achieving true data portability and interoperability but there are some significant moves on the part of the vendors in this area. It started off with integrating the identity on one service to another and, now, it has progressed to moving the data from one service to another and, also, using an app from one service provider with the data residing on another service provider. The inteoperability between Google App Engine and Salesforce’s Force.com platform, Zoho Creator (Disclaimer: Zoho is the sole sponsor of this blog but this is my independent opinion) and Google App Engine, etc. are significant in this respect. I am pretty convinced that this is going to unleash a philosophical shift in the vendor’s mindset about lock-in and monopoly.
Again, I want to emphasize that there are many events that may be much more significant than the ones I have mentioned in this post. I consider them significant because they have a potential to unleash mass adoption of Cloud Computing in both the consumer and enterprise segments. Tomorrow, I will offer my predictions on Cloud Computing in 2009.