During the early days of cloud computing–let’s call it “Cloud Uno” since Cloud 1.0 has already been used–several phrases were consistently used to describe it. Some of them were:
- On-demand service
- Self-service interface
- Automated provisioning via an API
- Rapid provisioning
- Granular billing, “pay for what you use,” or metered service
- Scalable or elastic infrastructure
- Cost effective due to the sharing of resources
Over time, most cloud IaaS environments improved in each of these areas. Although on-demand and rapid provisioning implied speed-to-a-login-prompt, speed in today’s cloud – “Cloud Dos” (that is “Cloud 2.0”) – has a different meaning.
Now cloud computing, specifically the leading public clouds like AWS and Azure, is used to get products to market more quickly. For Cloud Dos, no longer does the debate center around cost and security, but instead the speed at which one solves business problems and pursues innovative ideas. You may find that costs are slightly higher for the leading public clouds. However, when you compare the number of tools and services available in AWS and Azure’s toolboxes then compound it with their rapid rates of innovation and new tool introduction, the additional costs are quickly overshadowed. In addition, I would argue that most enterprises still don’t fully understand the cost of their internally run private cloud, but their business owners do understand how long it takes to get things done using it. While security is still a leading concern, public clouds have made great strides over the past few years, and in some cases meet more security certification than many private clouds.
The recent announcement by HP that it will sunset its Helion Public Cloud makes it clear that keeping up with the quick pace of feature announcements from the public cloud leaders may be impossible. Azure has added around 500 new features and services in the past 12 months alone. Not only do AWS and Azure introduce features quickly, but their tools and services are quickly accelerating up the solution stack as well–this fall, AWS rolled out QuickSight, its own cloud-powered business intelligence tool.
In addition, the revenue growth rates of the leading public cloud, AWS, is diminishing the naysayers with YoY revenue growth numbers north of 75%. There is abundant market evidence that the public cloud is not just for test/dev and proof of concepts anymore.
The public cloud is progressing quickly. Companies need to think long and hard if they can afford to disregard its benefits.