Crowd Computing…

It’s incredible to see how Amazon Web Services (AWS) has grown from just a way to use excess storage capacity to the dominant player in cloud computing. Sure, there are other providers out there, and to be clear, some very capable providers in the market, including Rackspace, Google and Microsoft, but with over $3 billion in annual revenue, AWS is five times the size of its next 14 rivals. That’s incredible market power, When you get that big, you can go from being a market leader to a target – but it’s hard to see where Amazon has made any missteps along the way.

Back in 2000, I helped my company migrate their internal e-mail system to a hosted Exchange infrastructure. It was a controversial move at the time, at least within the company. I’d have people remind me frequently – “You know, your job depends on this being successful.” Doesn’t every project work that way? In any case, it was a good move for the company, and got them out of the mindset that you HAD to have on-site infrastructure to deliver a service. Today, there are a large number of cloud solutions for e-mail, including Microsoft Exchange. It’s gone from being controversial to (almost) being the norm. AWS is making such headway into corporate IT, it’s moving in that same direction.

In previous IT roles, I’ve had to work through a number of office moves, facility upgrades and relocations….and every time, the IT infrastructure was a big piece of the move budget. As externally hosted services became more viable, I would joke that if I were building an office for a new company, I’d just have an Internet connection, router and a phone switch. Well, the maturation of VOIP eliminated the need for a full blown phone switch. The rise of cloud computing is eliminating the need for on-site infrastructure, and AWS is not only growing at a phenomenal rate, the more traditional infrastructure vendors are getting in the game as well.

The question for IT leaders is, should YOU move your infrastructure to the cloud? While cloud computing deals with a number of issues, and provides a number of advantages like short deployment times, scalability and high reliability, it doesn’t deal with the most important reason to choose cloud as a solution – because it meets your requirements. Once you’ve determined your technology and IT requirements, then you can evaluate cloud, co-located, hybrid and locally hosted options for deployment and determine what’s the best platform for hosting your systems. If you decide to launch or migrate your systems in the cloud, it’s a great platform with a lot of advantages…..but do it because it meets your IT needs, not just because it’s the latest fad. You still need to think about availability, service and security… if you’re considering cloud, do so with an open mind.

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