Cloud Adoption at GigaOm Structure: Private, Public and Personal

I had the chance to spend two information-packed days at last week’s GigaOm Structure 11 conference, where SnapLogic CEO Gaurav Dhillon joined Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com, onstage to discuss The State of the Cloud in 2011. Check out the video archive for Werner and Gaurav’s thoughts.

Predictably, an ongoing topic of discussion throughout the conference was the adoption of cloud technologies and what was driving or retarding it.

Simon Crosby, on his way out the door from Citrix, made a crucial point in his opening comments: when all is said and done, the limit to cloud adoption is a human one. As Crosby put it, “We get old with our music and we get old with our technology capabilities.” As each organization adopts new cloud-based technologies, it is because an individual has seen the future and bought into it.

Sometimes that individual is an IT leader, but as often these days, that person is someone in the line of business who has a problem to solve and has developed or purchased a cloud based solution to solve it– sometimes with no overview by IT at all. Call it the democratization of technology. As Crosby points out, the big growth in information technology is being driven by developers who never touch what we have traditionally called IT.

To address concerns around issues like security, compliance, and interoperability, many organizations have taken a “private cloud” approach, but these same individuals often take company documents, drop them on box.net and before you know it, company assets are in the public cloud. And there’s no IT Ops in the public cloud. A typical enterprise today finds itself living in a hybrid world of private and public clouds, whether they realize it or not. That’s certainly where we see many SnapLogic customers residing today.

Later the same day, Michael Skok, General Partner at North Bridge Venture Partners, led a panel discussion that further supports the idea that we are living in a hybrid cloud world. He shared results from their recent Future of Cloud Computing survey. More than 60% of respondents, whether they are on public or private clouds today, plan to go to a hybrid cloud model in the future.

I walked away thinking that the bigger debate in the cloud isn’t “Private vs. Public,” but “Corporate vs. Private.” Technologies we are using in our everyday lives, and bringing into our workplaces, have become a bigger driver on IT strategy than the operational plan. User interfaces for modern enterprise applications owe much more to consumer websites than their ancestors from the client-server era. Ecommerce ease learned from buying books or shoes online has become the standard to meet when selecting and purchasing web services for your organization.

What aspect of technology in our personal lives do you think has had the biggest impact on setting IT strategy?


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