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I am a big believer that as enterprises embrace a mobile strategy that includes iPads and iPhones, there will be a gravitational pull to the cloud.
Additionally, this transition to mobile and cloud will decrease the relevance of Microsoft in the enterprise, especially small – medium business (since they missed the boat on mobile and to some extent cloud services).
As I thought about this post and started writing, this morning TechCrunch has a post on “Box: Mobile Adoption Is The Gateway Drug To The Cloud In The Enterprise”.
“When Box tracks its enterprise sales, it tracks the reason for buying, and this past year, the company found there was a 30x increase in the number of enterprise deployments that were mobile-driven.” WOW…is that telling!
The move to iPads has enterprises adopting SaaS / cloud services much faster then originally thought. The ability to quickly (with a few swipes) deploy and enable a CRM application or a collaboration application is very compelling. Especially if the security and privacy concerns can be mitigated. Traditional IT must be agile and address this trend. Enterprise IT will need to figure out how cloud becomes an extension of their infrastructure and services or become less relevant to the value that can be delivered to business.
Years ago, while at Microsoft, we talked, blogged, preached about Software plus Services (S+S). In fact, Microsoft has been talking about the cloud in the context of S+S for years. Microsoft vision has always been that the cloud can make software better in a complimentary architectural way. As apposed to Google’s vision of cloud which is all about the web and the browser. In fact, Apple’s vision of cloud is in total alignment with Microsoft’s with iCloud! Its S+S – but although Microsoft is right on with the S+S strategy, they have struggled to really demonstrate this strategy and its valuable implications. I totally agree with Pascal’s post on SAI – Apple’s iCloud is annoying to Google, and humiliating for Microsoft. Microsoft had it right for years and they are still struggling with implementation. Whether its phone + cloud, software + cloud, or just cloud.
Cloud is different for consumer experiences versus the enterprise. A platform company that has the right strategy, needs to implement that strategy differently for the consumer market, versus the enterprise market!
OK…I guess my head is not totally out of the clouds!
Earlier this week VMware introduced Cloud Foundry, an Open Platform as a Service (PaaS) hosted by VMware and will be made available to service provider partners and customers, enabling them to host their on Open PaaS.
Cloud Foundry provides a PaaS implementation that offers developers choice:
- Choice of developer frameworks,
- Choice of application infrastructure services, and
- Choice of clouds to which to deploy applications
This PaaS is different from other people’s PaaS offerings that restrict developers to a specific or non-standard development framework, a limited set of application services or a single, vendor-operated cloud service; things that raises issues of lock-in by inhibiting application portability.
Instead, Cloud Foundry supports, or will support, frameworks like Spring for Java, Ruby on Rails, Sinatra for Ruby, Node.js and Grails with others promised in fairly short order. And for application services, it will initially support the open source NoSQL MongoDB, MySQL and Redis databases with plans to add VMware’s own vFabric services, the application platform in vCloud, as well as the RabbitMQ messaging system, another VMware property.
Whats really interesting is that VMware has rolled out their CloudFoundry service as an open source project! An entire PaaS platform, which they will also offer as a hosted service, but also available for anyone to run within their own company or datacenter!
Coming real soon, VMware plans to produce the Cloud Foundry Micro Cloud, a free, complete, downloadable instance of Cloud Foundry that runs in a single virtual machine developers can use on their own laptop to ensure that “applications running locally will also run in production without modification on any Cloud Foundry-based private or public cloud.” Down the road, the plan is to provide a commercial Cloud Foundry for enterprises that want to offer PaaS capabilities in their own private cloud and service providers that want to offer Cloud Foundry via their public cloud services. Enterprises should then be able to integrate the PaaS environment with their application infrastructure services portfolio and service providers hybrid cloud environments.
An article a couple of months back in VentureBeat asked if Hybrid Clouds were the path to cloud-computing nirvana. I am not sure I would go that far, but I do believe that most enterprise IT organizations will land at a place where they will have a private cloud, leverage a public cloud, and take advantage of the very compelling benefits of hybrid cloud scenarios.
Most large companies will not re-engineer their existing portfolio of applications to run in public clouds, and in fact will continue to invest in their existing infrastructure to enable the benefits of cloud and build out their own private clouds – driving costs down in their infrastructure, while gaining agility for their businesses. Additionally, some will have additional flexibility, greater business agility, and greater savings in costs, through hybrid cloud scenarios.
Hybrid cloud will enable IT in the enterprise to optimize infrastructure services and their computing resources across their data centers and service providers as necessary to respond to business demands. Hybrid clouds will provide portability for workloads, while maintaining consistent control and management, and maintaining security and compliance.
A key factor for to enable the Hybrid cloud capability is that IT will will need to build a private cloud platform that is consistent with cloud service providers and supports the portability mentioned above. One approach that is leading the way is VMware’s vCloud Powered service providers. Check it out.