“Cloud” – a Meaningless Word but a Meaningful Business Model

Gartner released its 2011 hyper cycle for cloud computing. Louis Columbus summarized main points from this report. One of the take-aways is that the “cloud computing” as a term lost its meaning and is “accelerating the entire industry into the trough of disillusionment”. InfoWorld’s  David Linthicum made it even more clear –  “it’s official: ‘Cloud computing’ is now meaningless”. I find myself agreeing with this assessment. I will be surprised for any vendor not to call at least one of their product is for cloud.

However, when you talk to cloud service providers (CSPs) or enterprises who are building cloud, you will get a sense that the “cloud” as a business model become more acceptable and conceived. There are two specific trends that I have noticed during my conversations with our customers.

The first trend is that customers knowledge of cloud and its benefits to their own business grows quickly. Six months ago, many customers asked about the differences between cloud and their current IT environment. Today customers start to discuss specific requirements around cloud implementation, for example converged infrastructure or pools of resources.

Another trend is even more interesting and convincing. Six months ago, most of the customers were looking for solutions that could build the cloud and deliver services in the cloud. I call it “building” stage or day 1. Nowadays, we hear more and more eagerness from our customers to find solutions to help operate their cloud. This is what I call “operating” stage or day 2. This is significant. Day 1 is an important step. But day 2 is where customers start to realize values (a.k.a. making money) that the cloud is supposed to bring.

This shows that customers treat the cloud as a business model seriously. They are giving more scrutiny for solutions from IT vendors. What’s your take on this? I will be in VMWorld this month and would love to meet with you there for having a fun discussion on this.


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