Nonetheless, I find it interesting that in the past month Amazon has upped the "serviceability" ante substantially with its Simple Email Service, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, and some new premium support options. If a generic compute platform in the public cloud was Cloud 1.0, then the Cloud 2.0 era of precooked, well-supported cloud services is already upon us. Salesforce and other SaaS providers were the first to identify applications that could be delivered as commodity services; now the cloud is penetrating deeper into enterprise IT and identifying other discrete service opportunities.
Giunta encourages her clients to look at their IT operations from the top down and identify workloads that are prime candidates to become cloud services. One of the things Giunta has learned from these engagements is that this aerial view forces clients to think in terms of data architecture above all. That is, due in part to security concerns, the question "where's the data?" comes to the fore -- where it's stored, where it goes, how it's protected, and which authenticated users are authorized to use it under what conditions.
Another key lesson is "test, test, and test again." Hype about the cloud has led many to believe that the usual testing cycles no longer apply. But as in all transformative projects, full stress testing and a complete evaluation of user satisfaction are essential to success. What goes wrong most? In Giunta's experience, basic problems with the way a client has already deployed virtualization can bring any cloud project to its knees. Smooth, sophisticated virtualization management provides the bedrock for robust cloud services.
Based on her experiences, Giunta offers one of the most aggressive predictions for the future of cloud computing that I've heard: In five or six years, 50 percent of workloads will be running as cloud services, either in the public or private cloud. Maybe she's right. Cloud computing's economies of scale have enormous potential to drive down IT costs (just ask Microsoft). Who doesn't want that?
Many balk at the idea of breaking IT functions into a service catalog. Clearly, a wide array can't be. But for better or worse, the idea of moving everyday workloads to standardized cloud services -- so you can focus creative IT efforts on initiatives to boost business competitiveness -- has become the conventional wisdom of the day.
This article, "Cloud computing: IT as commodity," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.