The Business Case for Cloud Computing
McKinsey's recent "discussion document" on Cloud Computing has triggered an activity stream of Google Alerts, Tweets and Re-Tweets from all over the Interwebs.
Similar to the Twitter phenomenon, the conversations regarding an evolution to a Cloud Computing infrastructure are disruptive to our traditional ways of thinking about IT. To make things worse, the noise level that is generated from these types of reports doesn't help us better understand or make the right choices.
The McKinsey document provides too many assumptions and generalizations regarding IT infrastructure costs, and not enough focus on the business cases that could benefit from a Cloud Computing model. The Cloud model disrupts the traditional IT infrastructure by introducing a virtually infinite pool of computing resources that are available on-demand and payable by the hour. Businesses need to figure out which one of their applications currently running inside the firewall can take advantage of this type of virtual IT infrastructure.
A future in Cloud Computing is not only about saving IT infrastructure costs -- it is also about progressively outsourcing pieces of a company's IT operations onto a Cloud platform, and letting someone else worry about managing the underlying hardware, network and operating system.
There seems to be too much noise on the negative implications of Cloud Computing and not enough positive discussions on how it can be used for things such as prototyping ideas, building virtual test labs and synchronizing user's laptops and mobiles devices in the cloud.
Whether we like it or not, Cloud Computing will “cross the chasm” very soon, and when it does, it will touch every aspect of our business and personal lives. It is not a question of IF, but WHEN.