By Doug Clark
As cloud computing continues to be adopted around the world, there is often a tendency to view it in terms of a defined, stand-alone technology, with its own taxonomy. Distinctions between Platform as a Service and Infrastructure as a Service and between public and private clouds are important but they can distract from the possibilities of cloud.
Instead, when considering cloud, organisations first need to think about what cloud could do for their business and customers. Then they should look to five value drivers – context, intelligence, economics, reach and pace – and consider what they can enable individually and when combined.
- Context. Freedom to orientate around the specific needs of the user, consumer or end-situation
- Intelligence. The ability to unleash the power of data and analytics where it can make a difference
- Economics. The benefit of the fundamentally better use of IT resources that cloud enables.
- Reach. Being able to extend the boundaries of the organisation, and,
- Pace. Being able to move much faster and more flexibly
Evidence is all around of how these factors are being applied to make an innovative and large scale difference in delivering the core capability or proposition of an organisation ‘as a service’.
An excellent example of Intelligence, Economics and Reach in action can be seen at Sci-Tech Daresbury, one of two National Science and Innovation Campuses in the UK, where high performance computing is being offered as a service as part of the government’s e-infrastructure strategy. The government believe that successful exploitation of high performance computing could generate up to £25billion each year for the UK economy. The ‘Blue Joule’ computer at Daresbury, the UK’s fastest, is being used to enable product and service innovation across industry, academia and government and to address grand challenges such as climate prediction and disease detection.
The way in which Wimbledon and other major sporting events are sharing cloud exemplifies all the five cloud value drivers. Cloud resources are being shared and provisioned to meet peaks in demand efficiently and rapidly at the same time as new dimensions are being added to the fan’s experience through interactivity and analytics-based services.
TP Vision is using cloud to make its smart television service better for its consumers in a converged world. There is a strong emphasis on making the end-user experience simpler, for example in how software in the TV set is managed. The approach however has a dynamic benefit in making it more economic and flexible to create new services for viewers.
Think forward a year or two and it is unlikely that any major Smarter Planet project will not have a strong cloud enabled service orientation. Cloud computing will in time be ubiquitous so we will just call it computing.