Apr 27, 2010 (11:04 AM EDT)
Cloud Computing Climbs Adoption S-Curve

Read the Original Article at InformationWeek

If Cloud Computing is of more than passing interest to you -- and you're still sitting on the sidelines -- here's a series of recent happenings (and my interpretation of the S-curve) that should inspire you to move forward.

Using Roger's Technology Adoption Cycle, it's beginning to look like Cloud Computing is now past the Innovators stage and gently moving up the lower cusp of the S-curve into Early Adopter stage (see my take on the S-curve below). The early adopters -- Amazon, Google and the like -- have for the most part lived to tell their tale, and a critical mass of adoption is beginning to form. If you have a business model where cloud computing could make a meaningful impact, now's the time to begin examining your options.Netflix and Amazon: Strange Bedfellows

In a curious turn of events, Netflix has decided to relocate its back-end computing to rival Amazon's infrastructure. Not so curious, when you consider that Amazon is perhaps *the* leader in cloud computing infrastructure, and probably offers far better economies of scale to large (and growing) internet businesses like Netflix. The New York Times quotes Kevin McEntee, Netflix's vice president of engineering, as explaining that Netflix switched in order to focus their innovation around finding movies, rather than "building larger and larger data centers." Good call.

Federal Government Flies Fearlessly into Clouds

The federal government, led by Federal CIO Vivek Kundra, continues to firm up its grip on the tail of the cloud computing tiger. In a latest development, the federal CIO's office has established a new "joint authorization board for cloud computing," which will make it easier for agencies and departments to (a) offer cloud computing solutions (or solution components) to other agencies, and (b) sign up for such offerings. The joint authorization board facilitates this by managing the related security/authorization processes.

Not to be left behind, Jill Singer, the erstwhile deputy CIO of the CIA, and now CIO of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), recently waxed enthusiastic on the topic. "Faster, Better, Cheaper, and Safer" was the overall theme of her talk, and she pointed out that the good CIO should be able to get all four out of a cloud computing environment. At the CIA, she asserted, they were headed to an enterprise cloud all along whether they knew it or not.

Forrester Sees the Daylight

Forrester researchers have predicted that the US IT market will grow at a healthy 8.4% in 2010... and SaaS will grow even faster. And although enterprises continue to be cautious with external clouds, they continue to grow bolder with internal (private) clouds. Yet, notes analyst Christopher Mines, it is application providers and developers, not enterprise IT, that will drive cloud services growth. And in a related observation, analyst Chris Andrews lists netbooks as one of "Seven Technologies Your Business Users Will Need You To Source In 2010". Netbooks, of course, are prime candidates for serving applications built on the cloud. Without good SaaS solutions, netbooks would become extinct.

Apple's iPad Adds to Confusion... and Cloud Computing

Which leads to everybody's darling (it seems) -- Apple. IE contributor David Linthicum points out (quite correctly) that despite all the hype about the iPad, it "has about as much to do with cloud computing as any device that can connect to the Web." Yet Apple has proven to be a market-maker like none other in recent years, and the iPad may provide the greatest impetus yet for cloud-based applications. Or, to coin a new variation (I think) of a tired old catch-phrase, "Now the Cloud gets interesting."

Oracle Phases Forward in SaaS

The Oracle acquisition juggernaut took down yet another target. This time, it's Phase Forward, a leader in web-based clinical data management solutions (e.g. you might have heard of ClinTrial). For a hefty $685 million, this acquisition is expected to be the spearhead for Oracle's foray into Health Sciences SaaS.

Here's my take on where Cloud Computing is on the technology maturity curve. If you see it differently, I'd be interested in learning about it.

Cloud Computing S-CurveIf Cloud Computing is of more than passing interest to you -- and you're still sitting on the sidelines -- here's a series of recent happenings (and my interpretation of the S-curve) that should inspire you to move forward.