You could argue that EDS and
IBM have been offering “cloud” computing for many years. They have outsourced the data
operations of some of the world’s largest companies. They have purchased and built very large data centers, often
with many customers in the same facility.
They often own and manage the hardware and systems software. So, how is the new model of
Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) different from what EDS and IBM have been
doing in the past?
The difference is “standardization.”
The maturation of
virtualization creates a standard way to host an operating system in an
environment that can be moved. Virtualization enables existing applications to
be moved more easily without changes.
This makes IaaS more suitable to meet the needs of peak load and
disaster recovery requirements.
The rapid growth of low-cost
and highly reliable bandwidth is also fueling the move to IaaS, enabling
servers to move from locations physically close to central operations to areas
that have better access to cheaper or more reliable resources, inexpensive
technical expertise, or simply lower cost facilities. With the IaaS vendor managing the complete infrastructure,
there is no need for the purchaser to be physically close to the IaaS location.
There is an enormous market
for servers, people to manage IT, software, telecommunications and
facilities. IaaS will create a
disruption that will create flood of competition and innovation, lowering the
cost of computing and driving even more innovation.
Of course, there will be
initial resistance to move to IaaS.
We’ve seen this resistance before in the software industry when people
moved to SaaS. Initially, the concern
will be control. This concern is
valid. There are big stakes
involved for a business when a server is down. Business workers lose productivity when servers go
down. Concerns over data loss or
security breaches are understandable.
The security of systems and data are critical to most businesses. However, as we’ve seen with the SaaS
industry, these concerns will be addressed as providers prove they can manage
these extremely valuable resources securely and reliably.
At Bluelock, we use VMware’s
virtualization technology to provide our customers with the ability to easily
move their departmental or even enterprise-class applications from centralized
in-house computing to IaaS. Our
customers benefit from lower capital costs, lower labor costs, and increased flexibility.
I can clearly see that there
are IaaS clouds on the horizon that represent another significant evolution of
enterprise technology and an exciting opportunity. At Bluelock, we think this
will be good for our customers and that’s why we’re partnering with VMware on
Mark E. Hill is Chairman of
BlueLock’s Board and Managing Partner of Collina Ventures. Mark co-founded
Baker Hill® in 1983. Focusing on the banking industry, the company built
software solutions focused on small business lending. In 2005, the company was
acquired by Experian® (EXPN.L), a global information company. In addition to
his roles with BlueLock and Collina Ventures, Mark serves on the board of
numerous companies, including Interactive Intelligence, (Nasdaq:ININ),
Cantaloupe TV (www.cantaloupe.tv), and
T2 Systems (www.T2Systems.com).