Building Systems Management as a Service

Dmitry Sotnikov

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Cloud Computing Ain’t Electricity – It’s a Supermarket

It occurred to me recently that there is a far better model to make cloud idea easy to understand

Thanks to Nicholas Carr everyone loves to talk about Cloud Computing as electricity and how we are transitioning from own power-stations to central grid. After a lot of discussions about "the cloud", it occurred to me recently that there is a far better model to make cloud idea easy to understand - and it is supermarket.

Electricity is kind of a wrong model. Not because so many folks are now trying to get the pendulum swing back and get to solar panels and other micro-generators, but also because software and IT services are much less uniform than electrical current. There's no single "IT utility current" you can get from your network outlet to solve all IT needs.

supermarket-vs-farm

Supermarkets seem a far closer paradigm. There was a period of natural household economy when basically people were raising their own crops and more or less producing most of the stuff they needed day to day. And of course we do not really do this anymore because - as Nicholas so eloquently demonstrated in his books - specialization and mass production make more economic sense.

All the talks about security, privacy, lack of control and so all totally apply here. When you grow your own potatoes you can be by far more sure that no pesticides get in there. However, we just don't do this anymore apart from maybe a fraction of people growing some plants for fun and personal joy.

Even more, we now have the whole new segment in agriculture - organic/bio food - which charges premium for real or perceived additional quality and safety (depending on the country there might or might not be real certifications and controls involved).

Seems to me that this is exactly the direction in which we are heading. Maybe with the difference that in IT, the quality of service might actually be easier to track than in the food industry - so we are probably in a better shape than anyone else.

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Dmitry Sotnikov is VP of Cloud at WSO2, building the cloud business for this leading middleware provider. Check out the WSO2 Cloud platform at http://CloudPreview.WSO2.com