Think for a moment about the sandwich. No, not the one you had for lunch today or your favorite one at the cafe. I mean the concept of the sandwich. It’s really not that sexy. Some bread, some meat, maybe some cheese, some toppings, some sauces and that’s about it. It’s essentially unchanged since it’s inception as a way to avoid getting the Earl’s fingers dirty back in the 1700′s.
Now think about how that gets marketed, at least in North America. Several dozen restaurants have tried to de-commoditize the sandwich by providing a dining experience or by making subtle changes to the sandwich. I always get a laugh when I go into one such chain in that they are always changing the bread options for my dining experience. Would you care to try that on our new rosemary encrusted ciabatta bread or perhaps our asiago cheese croissant? Of course for the pleasure of having my custom creation and dining experience I am willing to pay more. After all this isn’t Mom’s baloney with yellow mustard on white. This is something new, something that expresses who I am. Or is it just a sandwich?
Many techo-pundits are lauding the virtues of cloud computing as something wholly new that will transform your business and finally deliver on the long promised dream of an automated and efficient enterprise. Buy our products, engage our professionals services, let us craft for you a cloud shaped dream of the future. Many times this centers around virtualization or software/platform/infrastructure/cheese as a service (xaaS). These are all fine and good but are any of these things really going to deliver something new? Or is it the same old sandwich with ciabatta bread instead of Mom’s white bread?
Let’s set the record straight. I believe in cloud computing. I think for the first time in the web era we are finally get our heads around how this stuff should really work. But nobody is going to sell you a package of cloud. It doesn’t come in individually wrapped, snack size portions. Virtualizing your data center won’t give it to you alone. Rearranging some network routes and firewall rules to use IaaS won’t give it to you alone. Using SalesForce or Concur or GMail alone won’t give it to you. That’s because it’s not about applications or platforms or infrastructure or security or any of these things in and of themselves. It’s about, for the first time, all those things working in concert. That and so much more.
What do you want your cloud to look like? Over the next few posts I’ll be talking about the vision that I have for cloud computing, what I think it takes to get there and what you can do to help. I would love to get your feedback. I also want to call you to a shared vision of where you can take this within your enterprise and what we can do together as an industry.