Time for a change is always now
It is often said that Europeans are more conservative in their outlook with regard to change.
There are occasions when this is a useful cultural trait, like limiting the rampant commercialisation of fine heritage sites or taking care to uphold a traditional method for creating a really good cheese. But when it comes to technology resistance to change it only brings disaster.
Nowhere is this clearer than in relation to cloud computing. The “readiness for the cloud’ debate is so bound up in what we think it is today NOT what it actually delivers and the clear and unambiguous direction it is heading towards - That if they keep debating instead of doing, swathes of business will still be pontificating in empty boardrooms as the bailiffs come to take their chairs away.
For many the 'cloud' means re-writing their apps, putting their data somewhere outside, and in some cases it will threaten their way of doing business. Like it or lump it, technology in its benign emotionless way threatens or enlightens in equal measure.
From the mills of northern England to the cafes of Palo Alto, technological innovation has been redefining the rules and sometimes tearing them up since we collectively became an industrial society. It eliminates barriers of all kinds; human, social, geographic, financial and time. We don’t need to drag our chair to the beach to prove that the tide will come in, we know.
Why is this particular flavour of technology not hype but real? It's Simple really. It ticks the big boxes. In a time when many IT managers don’t have new money to spend, they need to spend smarter. They need to rationalise those things that really are neutral to their business in terms of intellectual competitive value. They simply need faster, better and especially cheaper ICT infrastructure. That’s what, at its heart, the whole cloud movement is about.
However, before you add a few servers to go along with your next Dan Brown order it doesn’t have to mean you have to roll over and accept a dumbed down compromise of the IT world you’ve been used to in order to start your journey. If you ask any successful technology business what they hold dear they will tell you independence to control their own destiny. So signing up for a ride that you may or may not have influence over, understandably, may not be your cup of tea.
What really matters when embarking on this switch to IT in the sky? Firstly you need to ensure that it’s safe and secure. In practical terms, this includes data integrity and high availability services. Choose where you put your data, retain complete control and enjoy better resilience than you could ever dream of without repatriating your data half way round the world.
But once you get the cloud, you then don’t want to be shown a cheap imitation of the tools and technologies you're familiar with – even if you’re all for change it has to be change for the better. Give me what works well, not simply what works with your proprietary technology. Give me choice.
Also, let it be open. Not “OPEN” as in part of a closed, paid-for club that only certain people get to control, but open – as in HTML, BGP, Ethernet, SIP, TCP/IP, MPLS….all the protocols that underpin the digital age are ours, yours – everybody’s. And hey, if you can do that and it’s better then great. I want fast, I want predictable, I want symmetrical latencies.
To misquote a French Queen who found herself the wrong side of a bubble – I want it to let me have my cake and eat it now.
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