IT has cycles; in-source then out-source.. centralised then distributed.. but cloud is different. It’s not a fad. It’s here to stay and it’s more than just another technology, it’s a completely new means of delivering and consuming technology.
The standard way of doing things used to be simple; every 3 – 5 years go through a process of upgrade. Have the vendors perform their dog and pony show, wheel out their shiniest of technologies (including the machine that goes “beep!”) and choose the one with 6 new widgets you couldn’t live without. The funny thing is that there wasn’t really that much that changed; a new lick of paint, a faster CPU, a couple of new interfaces.. it was a process best described as “same, same, but different”.
And then cloud entered the market and the pace of change shifted. No more yearly major revisions but monthly increments. Microsoft soon realised that they were changing their platform so much that even the accreditation exams couldn’t keep up. For the longest time the team at Azured ignored Azure exams as they included a good chunk on the classic interface- an interface that hadn’t been in widespread use for years.
Microsoft had to tell their developers “Slow down. Changes to the portal are to be rolled up into 6 month windows” just so users could keep up with the break neck evolution of the dashboard- and that was just the interface! To us, old infrastructure guys, this was something new; we were used to that familiar cadence of change; old faithful, every 3 years let’s consider a new, yet not-so-new, technology.
But cloud is different. Building from a fresh base, Microsoft could iterate at their hearts content. And iterate they did! With an explosion from a handful of services launched with Windows Azure (or Project Red Dog) to now over 600 services available today in Microsoft Azure. And here is the thing, it’s not just new services that have been launched but there has been constant redevelopment of existing services, deprecating old versions or replacing them with entirely new ones. And that’s not even including support for new integration points and API’s.
So what does this mean to the average cloud punter? It means that you can’t approach Cloud as a “one and done” affair. Cloud is evolving at a speed that was inconceivable even 5 years ago and you need to grow with it.
The way I see it is simple: You can understand what’s possible and position yourself to take advantage of what could be a game changing service for your business or you could stand idly by as it passes by you.
Ride the wave of cloud, or let it crash into you.