The furore surrounding the opportunity of Cloud Computing shows no signs of abating in the near future, at least in the UK. Adoption remains healthy, both in terms of the number of new user organisations as well as increased penetration by existing users. Furthermore, the satisfaction of end users with the benefits achieved through adopting Cloud services appears to be extremely high with 96 per cent of the research base surveyed by the Cloud Industry Forum confirming satisfaction with their experiences to date.
Equally, there is some passionate commentary on the perceived risks with this latest evolutionary step for the delivery of IT. Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) are regularly pedalled in regard to perceived issues around the management of IT from a third party hosted environment. Be they issues of data security, legal jurisdiction or dependence upon poor internet connectivity, the list of negatives are arguably as numerous and the range of commentators as voluminous as those in the pro camp.
When looking at Cloud Computing as a disruptive solution though, it is essential that we see it not as just an issue of pure technology, but one of business process change, supply chain change, project management and IT delivery change. When you view it this way it is no surprise that the passions are raised and the camps formed. Cloud services represent the most significant opportunity to improve the way IT is conceived, built, delivered and managed, it re-writes the boundaries of how IT is orchestrated to serve an organisations needs, reshapes the skills needed within consuming organisations and realigns channels for the delivery of solutions. However, the market is still young, and the level of adoption, whilst growing quickly is still a fraction of the market that is satisfied on-premise. Throughout 2011 we have seen the barriers to adoption of Cloud services fall dramatically and we have seen the market for supply attempt to reshape itself to meet the future demand that is expected. As the market is arguably still nascent, the number of new entrants moving into the market is driving a level of divergence as each aims to get its value proposition communicated. This noise is one of the key issues the Cloud Industry Forum is committed to providing guidance on by providing clarity on Best Practice for Cloud service delivery, and by sharing understanding of the key matters to be considered when adopting Cloud services through initiatives like its certified Cloud Service Provider Code of Practice, research activity and educational White Papers.
In this White Paper we set out to provide clarity on the language of Cloud Computing, to offer a practical description and ordering of the key Cloud terminology in use. We also put forward the basic, but often unspoken, argument that organisations will need to address an increasingly fragmented notion of how IT is delivered going forward. The constraints of server rooms, DMZ’s, ownership and dedicated resources are giving way to shared services, scalable infrastructure, on-demand service and consumption based OpEx costs. Consumerisation and contextualisation of technology changes the basis of expectation for IT delivery, and capability and capacity of IT assets are no longer constraints. However, the real world impact of legacy applications, regulation, levels of customisation/integration of applications etc do call into check how IT services can be deployed.
This paper does not set out to state that Cloud Computing will replace on-premise computing, far from it. It sets out to recognise that organisations need to reconsider their approach to IT strategy, that the benefits afforded from accessing aspects of IT as a Service are tangible and therefore new skills need to be honed inside organisations to define, implement, monitor and manage IT in an increasing disparate set of delivery models that will combine the best of on-premise and Cloud Computing, whether the latter is accessed via SaaS style applications or through Private or Hybrid Clouds extending the boundaries of the traditional IT infrastructure and enabling business transformation.