An Insider’s View on Product Management

April 21, 2009

Embracing the cloud

Filed under: Business Strategy — Gregory @ 11:45 pm

The lure of cloud computing is getting increasingly difficult to ignore for IT organizations.  For the last 2 years, cloud’s adoption has been strong and shows no sign of slowing down. A lot more cloud platforms are now available for companies to choose from; new vendors are following suit behind Amazon’s EC2. Solutions range from behemots like Google’s App Engine and Microsoft’s Windows Azure to pure players like GoGrid and FlexiScale. Early skeptic voices are now acknowledging cloud computing has some merits. As a result, although most fortune 500 CIOs still dismiss the importance of cloud as part of their future strategy, they are getting more concerned about their datacenter efficiency. IT initiatives are popping up to build private clouds, promote servers virtualization and experiment with public clouds for new R&D projects.

However, this is still in the startups world that you will find the most fervent adopters. Here are a few reasons why the cloud is so attractive to startups:

  • Startups have typically poor visibility into their service adoption and they don’t want to incur huge upfront hardware costs. Cloud technologies give them the flexibility to scale up and down their processing capacity as their business evolve.
  • Startups need to focus on their core business and keep innovating as fast as possible. Hardware and datacenter management should not come into the way of development. If the business becomes more predictable, administrators and operators can be always brought on board later.
  • Startups can only spend limited resources and time on high availability. Cloud providers are almost certain to do a better job than a startup staff. Furthermore disaster recovery is an extremely expensive proposition. Having hardware sitting idle, waiting for an unlikely disaster scenario is not a good option. Leveraging the cloud for spawning new instances or using automatic failover is a sounder approach.
  • Finally, let’s not underestimate the buzz associated to cloud computing. If you do nothing different than your competitors but are running in the cloud, chances are that you will be the one noticed by the community.

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