Monday, July 4, 2011

Episode 10: Band On The Run?

People think Cloud is big business now. We're not even at the projected years yet like 2014 where some have estimated it will be worth as much as USD$150bn. There is a growing perception out there amongst executives in business that 'Cloud' is nothing more than a really nice way of saying 'outsourcing' & question its value based off that, which is really the wrong way to view it. But leaving that aside, the other side of the table are the Cloud service providers.

So far in the Cloudiverse, we've:
  • SAAS - Software As A Service
  • PAAS - Platform As A Service
  • IAAS - Infrastructure As A Service
  • CAAS - Cloud As A Service (granted this is my own term - but still!)
Last week upon my weary travels through the countless number of articles/blogs/opinions/reports I read every day a new term came creeping like a truck hurtling down a mountainside into my view;

Desktop As A Service, or DAAS.

That's right, 'DAAS'. In the late 90's there was a running joke amongst I.T. workers about TLA's (Three Letter Acronymns) & even some went as far as XTLA's (Extended Three Letter Acronymns, which was another humourous way of saying four letter acronymns). In my early days as a support engineer we would try find as many funny TLA's or XTLA's as we could for things during mind-numbing tasks as a way of lightening the mood. A collegue of mine one day introduced me to the term 'PEBKAC error' (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair). Even to this day it brings a wry smile to my face.

But it does over a decade later have me asking, are we getting to the stage again where in order to 'sound' convincing we're confusing the end user with loads of fancy abbreviated terminology? It is bad enough that currently there are so many people out there who from a lay person's stand-point can see how some of these 'Cloud services' can help their businesses. Whether that's to save money, or divesting themselves of capital investment, or just making access to certain systems more global or location neutral. There is a growing problem where despite the fact Cloud companies are sprouting up at the rate Dot Com businsses used to, the market is not being brought along for the ride with it.

There is a sales technique called 'the band wagon effect' where in a bid to try & have your lead buy in to what you're trying to sell them you tell them that their competitor is using your product/service & already benefitting, so they should to. It is a technique done in the hope of assuading fears about how something may be relevant & useful to your business/vertical, while also inserting another fear; the competition having an edge over you as a business.

I get the feeling in amongst this explosion of cloud that people are really trying to be extreme with the 'first to market' ethos & creating as many new 'As A Service' models as possible in a bid to hitch their own wagons to the Cloud band wagon. While no-one can ever deny the fact it's easier than ever to establish a solutions based business to leverage off the Internet, & tag your solution as a 'Cloud' service, there's a temptation for the I.T. industry to 'pig out' on what alot must feel is an 'all you can eat buffet' in the Cloud.

They say unless you learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it. The last time there was a feeding frenzy like this it was called the 'Dot Com Bubble', & that burst. Hard. It also took alot of investors with it & alot of VC companies took a real kicking, especially over companies like ''. Yes, you shouold make hay while the sun shines, but considering the global econmy is still recovering, & here in Ireland we are really struggling, the last thing we need is another over-inflated bubble bursting, which may send any recovery or early signs of it straight into a grave.

As someone whose been involved in the Cloud for some time now, it  has been very good to me in terms of employment, work, & opportunity. Not to mention the education it has given as well as enthusiasm again for the I.T. service industry. While we all as Cloud warriors, defenders, enthusiasts, developers, founders, evangelists, champions, consultants etc. want to share this with the world, make some bucks too (because this is what it is ultimately about), we must ensure that as chiefs in our tribes bring the tribes along with us, otherwise we're going to be standing there all on our own looking at a very expensive totem pole that everyone else stopped  caring about, & sees no relevance in, with a very hefty tab awaiting us, wondering why people 'don't understand' or 'don't get it'.