At E-Tech (March 2007), I talked about :-
- The commoditisation of IT.
- The need for competitive utility computing markets.
- The "potential" green benefits of large scale computing providers.
- Why open source was essential for SaaS.
- The need for open hardware.
- The change of consumer from a passive to active participant.
- Why patent length needs to be variable and set to the likely time of independent discovery.
All of these themes were connected to the underlying process of commoditisation.
I continuously keep tabs on how different business activities are affected by this process as this enables me to help my clients determine a better strategic choice for their activities. There are numerous stages in an activity's lifecycle, each with its own methodologies and strategies.
Now whatever the "cloud" is, it is certainly about the commoditisation of IT. It's therefore about the creation of a competitive utility computing market for which there are a number of requirements.
One of these is a high degree of substitutability between services (what I jokingly called Fungitility and Patration and James called Software Fluidity). Substitutability between services in the Software as a Service or Cloud Computing or whatever term is in vogue, means:-
The freedom to move from one service provider (including internally) to another without hindrance (including excessive cost, time or effort), without boundaries and predicated on the existence of an equivalent service or services.
This term really is about the portability of data, applications and frameworks (see my talk from OSCON) between providers but that terms is used by the DataPortability group to mean something equivalent to "access to data". It's all a bit messy but it's the concepts that matter not the actual terms. They will all get cleaned up at some later point along with aaS wars when there is less buzz.
All you need to know is that IT is moving from a product to a service based economy (hence all the different aaS terms), and in a service based economy the freedom to move from one service provider to another without hindrance is critical. This of course means there must be more than one service provider.
Oscon, July 2007
Substitutability between service providers will require the portability of any necessary data, applications and frameworks from one to another services that are interoperable. For this, and for reasons of strategic control, the services will need to be based upon open sourced standards. This is starting to slowly happen for example with the open SDK of GAE and Eucalyptus. Another requirement is compliance and assurance services. It seems like we have a first step being made along this path with CloudStatus.
Back in July '07, I said: "Six years from now, you'll be seeing job adverts for computer resource brokers."
The speed at which things are moving, it could be even sooner.