Fashionable Computing

Anyone who’s spent any time as a software engineer or managing IT will attest to the fact that just like the clothing industry, computing has it’s trends and fashions. Some, like client-server architecture, have been around so long that it’s hard to imagine a time without them. Like the necktie they’ve just become the standard for how we do business. Others seemed long gone only to resurface again in a new form, like VDI, with it’s pedigree stretching back to the time sharing systems of old (bell bottoms anyone?) The question then becomes “which trends to follow?” Do you blindly jump on every one that comes along like a teenager desperately trying to fit in? Or do you stubbornly play the rebel and eschew the current fashion in favor of classic strategies and technologies?

The answer of course is “neither.” When it comes to technology trends the enterprise can ill afford to blindly embrace them nor can they be ignored. Each must be carefully considered, tested, and ultimately a decision must be made based on the technical and more importantly the business impact they’ll have on the enterprise as a whole. I realize that to most of you this sounds like simple common sense, and it should. However after 17 years in the industry I’ve learned that what is clearly common sense to the individual can become something very different to the organization, and no trend has illustrated this better than cloud computing.

Like a song that’s been overplayed, the mention of cloud computing can elicit groans in certain circles, and understandably so. It’s a term that’s overused, overloaded, and is often attached to ill conceived initiatives. That being said, it’s my belief that at its core cloud computing is not a trend at all but rather the inevitable result of the commoditization of computing resources. Compute providers such as Amazon, Rackspace, and the like will not only be able to more efficiently and cheaply provide compute platforms than enterprise IT, but the competitive nature of their pricing will require increased agility from those enterprises looking to take advantage of the “computing clearinghouses” that emerge. Even for those organizations that are currently unable to take advantage of public cloud providers, private cloud solutions still offer significant advantages in cost reduction and agility over traditional data centers. This is all to say that cloud computing is here to stay, and the question isn’t whether to adopt a cloud strategy, but rather how to successfully adopt one that benefits your business.

To that end I’ve created this blog, in which I hope to share my experience and the experience of my peers. And yes, I’ll even talk about ElasticBox from time to time.

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Categories: Cloud Computing
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