"It's all about the ecosystem. There is a lot of innovation to come."
That outlook came from Amazon CTO Werner Vogels in 2011 at the Cloud Connect conference. Prophetic? Maybe. But coming from the man behind Amazon Web Services (News - Alert), I see it as just well-reasoned thinking about the cloud’s ecosystem. Then, and now.
In a profound sense, the cloud has been a journey of innovation all along — perhaps more so than any technology we’ve ever experienced. Yet like any technology’s progression, developing the ecosystem for cloud technology has required shifts in thought at critical junctures. It has also continually required people and businesses to re-think their view of the cloud and its uses, often for the better.
In fact, Werner Vogels signaled one of the cloud’s more significant shifts in his keynote at Cloud Connect three years ago, when he reexamined the “metaphorical pyramid” of Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Software as a Service. It was a model, he said at the time, that restricted the way we viewed the cloud, and that eventually had to shift to an ecosystem drawing from various contributors.
Well-reasoned thinking, and point taken.
When you look at the cloud ecosystem today, it literally is “Everything as a Service.” Innovations from Salesforce.com (News - Alert) to the iCloud have made the cloud a global commodity. There are public clouds, private clouds, personal clouds, clouds for contact centers, clouds for analytics, clouds for disaster recovery, clouds for markets like manufacturing and healthcare, and branded multi-cloud services for customer care.
With a growing collection of services from a growing list of providers, cloud brokers even provide and support all that the cloud has to offer. Vital to the ecosystem, these brokers are actually playing greater roles as channel partners and business partners.
The cloud ecosystem benefit model, specified years ago to help ensure cloud success, also has taken hold. With most cloud solutions now available, upfront capital expenses are largely minimized, if not eliminated. Organizations increase flexibility and control to scale users and add functionality. Deployments are faster. IT requirements are fewer, falling almost entirely to the cloud provider.
The next phase of the cloud ecosystem? The technology is now becoming increasingly distributed in nature — it will soon provide a virtually seamless and infinite environment for computing, communications, analytics, Web and mobile services, and other business and consumer uses. Cloud solution deployments and management functions will become ever faster, and simpler. The cloud’s cost and benefit model will become more attractive and available to more users. And with more far-reaching means and greater efficiency, organizations will improve collaboration between employees and make more personalized connections with customers.
Because the cloud’s potential still remains vast and largely untapped, the cloud ecosystem will continue to be a journey. We should all look forward to where that journey takes us.
Edited by Maurice Nagle