Clouds over the Ivory Tower

Interesting thoughts from Redmonk on adoption of Cloud computing in Enterprise space, looking further then only the economics (reaction on recent McKinsey report about this).

Some extracts:

It being McKinsey, you can assume the math is correct. For once, though, I think the numbers fail to tell the story. Though whether that’s their fault or McKinsey’s is open to question.

For those that missed it, the folks over the Uptime Institute engaged the celebrated management consultancy in a project to look at cloud computing. After examining the technology and the economics, McKinsey produced a presentation entitled “Clearing the air on cloud computing” that concluded that while cloud computing has undeniable benefits, “many of the claims being made about cloud computing have lead some to the point of ‘irrational exuberance’ and unrealistic expectations.” In Uptime’s words, anyway.

Tim’s primary criticism of the McKinsey piece is that economics are not the sole predictor of success within the technology space.

Getting Stuff Done · At the end of the day, that’s all that matters. When a new technology arrives, if it’s basically affordable and it lets you do your job faster and better, well, it just doesn’t matter if it’s a little more expensive or a little less secure or any of those other things. It’s going to happen.

Precisely. McKinsey’s numbers, in my opinion, are being handed down from an Ivory Tower.

Who would contemplate the migration of their entire datacenter investments to the cloud? Forget the economics: unless the cloud offerings were effectively free - which McKinsey has convincingly proven they are not - the risks of migration would far outweigh the potential economic returns. In a world where US tax returns are being processed by COBOL programs written in the 60’s, I find the notion of wholesale migration - one of the assumptions for portions of the presentation - exceedingly problematic. It’s akin to questioning the economics of converting the entirety of one’s application portfolio to Visual Basic because that language is easy to learn.

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