Cloud Computing – backlash against infrastructure constraints?

I’m quitting caffeine. As a result my neural processes have been operating at a deficit. So I’m going to blame that for the completely random thought that popped into my head a couple days ago. I’m going to blame the amount of learning I have to do regarding .NET Services for why you’re getting to hear about this idea instead of another hands-on Azure related post.

Details on the pricing of Azure Services is supposed to be coming in July (at the partner conference). As such, I’m spending more time trying to predict what solution offerings will appeal to clients looking to take advantage of the cloud. That of course requires that I try to determine their motivations. This notion I had centers around an incident that I was caught up in several years ago.

I’ve been doing IT for over 17 years now. I joke that I’ve done everything from Mainframe to Mobile (which isn’t actually a joke). I think the incident that stands out most in my mind was when the sales team at a former employer started a project outside of the company’s IT department. This “small project” quick grew and after about 6 months was staffed by a team of nearly a dozen high-priced consultants. I won’t get into the details about what happened to the project or why. The important thing is how this happened. The sales group had a need that the IT department was unable to satisfy. So they found other resources to meet their needs.

So I thought back to the above example and could not help but ponder if one motivation for moving to the cloud was this “need” to not be limited by existing infrastructure. How many folks will look to the cloud not because of cost, or features, but simply because the near endless resources it brings mean that they are no longer bound by the constraints imposed by their existing infrastructure. They can operate outside of enterprise infrastructure governance and budgeting.

This is not that far a stretch if you listen to the marketing messages some of the cloud providers are tossing around. They tell how cloud computing can enable you to deploy new solutions without having invest in additional infrastructure. I can easily see some project manager, under the gun to get a solution delivered being frustrated when they are told that a server needed for their project has had its delivery delayed or that it can’t be installed in the datacenter until the electrical contractor completes an upgrade. They’re see all these resources out there in the cloud just waiting for the swipe of the corporate credit-card. Who wouldn’t be tempted by this?

This doesn’t in any way belittle what cloud computing has to offer. In fact, it just helps strengthen the case for cloud computing. However, it does add a note of caution. We need to make sure that the eager project manager understands the pros and cons of moving to the cloud. We as IT professionals need to make sure we’re helping decision makers fully understand what is required when leveraging the cloud. If we don’t, then we risk having to help clean up the messes that are created when decisions are made without full understanding of the potential risks.

We have to help enable our organizations. But we are also obligated to make sure it is done responsibly.

Ok, thought has been shared. So back to my .NET Services learnings. *cranks up the Rammstein and Rob Zombie* That is if I can stay awake. 🙂

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2 Responses to Cloud Computing – backlash against infrastructure constraints?

  1. Jamie says:

    I saw the headline and thought this was going to be a rant about the lack of regard for good old relational databases and foreign key constraints in this "new world" 🙂

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