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The Perfect Storm Behind Cloud Computing – Hybrid IT

Posted on Monday, Dec 6th 2010

By guest author Michael Proper

[The biggest growth in cloud computing will be in hybrid clouds (from 13% now to 43% in three years) according to a recent study by SandHill Group in which they surveyed more than 500 IT executives. Another survey by Evans Data finds an even higher adoption rate among IT developers, suggesting that the hybrid cloud model is set to dominate the coming IT landscape. Given the interest and practicality of hybrid clouds approach, we are trying to uncover some of the untapped opportunities in the hybrid service provider Market and more for our 1M/1M readers through our ‘Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing‘ series and this guest column by Michael Proper.

Michael is the CEO of ClearCenter, the chairman of ClearFoundation, and a member of the CompTIA Cloud Advisory Committee. He has recently developed a new IT segment type called hybrid service provider (HSP). An HSP uses open source solutions and cloud services to consolidate software and hardware to one application and one hardware device with no software license fees and no per-user fees.

ClearCenter focuses on delivering IT solutions for SMBs, ClearFoundation is a non-profit entity and community devoted to the development and proliferation of the open source distribution ClearOS. As part of his CompTIA Cloud Advisory Committee initiative, Michael is working to help define how cloud currently applies and how it will change in the future. – Shaloo Shalini]

The Forces of the Storm

A perfect storm brings multiple factors together in precisely the right manner to create a powerful event. Hybrid IT is a perfect storm of key trends within computing. Cloud computing (cloud applications & cloud services) is storming through markets bringing sophisticated and complex applications to the masses at ever lower costs – some for free. On-premise resources can therefore be reduced to critical network, gateway, and server functions. Combined with the evolution of comprehensive open source platforms, a perfect IT storm is forming to yield the highest performance for the lowest cost. Hybrid IT harnesses the strength of these three elements – cloud computing, on-premise applications and services, and the ever-strengthening open source movement. Hybrid IT is changing the future of computing across the globe with a perfect storm of disruptive trends.

The Winds of Economic Change

Though hybrid IT is a storm, its winds have two primary effects – the commoditization of computing and reduction of required expertise. The IT costs and expertise associated with operating a business have dropped dramatically with hybrid IT. A small organization needs only a single standard server and computers capable only of browsing the Internet. This commoditizes the computing; any standard server and notebook will do. In addition, the threshold of technical expertise has been lowered through simplified controls, setup, and support. With a wealth of tutorials and training videos available, experts are emerging in the far corners of the earth who are connected to their applications and customers by only a Web browser and a high-speed Internet connection. Any small organization can have its entire IT infrastructure up and running in hours, which was inconceivable only a few years ago.

The Power of the Cloud is in the Rain

Rain falls on everyone regardless of size, strength, experience, or wealth. Historically, complex and sophisticated applications and services like ERP, CRM, or supply chain management required enormous cost and expertise. Only organizations of a certain size and capability could deploy sophisticated applications and services. Today the trend is reversed. Cloud computing makes enterprise applications and services available to the smallest organizations – even single users. Salesforce.com and Bantamlive.com put amazing CRM power at the fingertips of anyone with Internet access. Google provides office applications and e-mail online for free. Mailchimp offers enterprise-grade e-mail marketing services available to anyone with a Web browser. Cloud computing makes the soothing rain of high-power applications fall on everyone!

Open Source Empowers the Commoditization of Applications

The open source market enables developers to join forces and offer software free. It’s a natural evolution of the free market. If you can’t control piracy, don’t try. Make the software free and charge for expertise, technical support, and integrated services. Open source eliminates the licensing security and costs while allowing true market valuables – services and expertise – to control the market.

The One-Man Business Empire

MSP University, a leading provider of training and services to develop the MSP business market, recently told the story of an young man who created his own thriving IT business. He used the MSPU training and resources to familiarize himself with the market and launched his own business by outsourcing everything from applications to on-site services.  He created a recurring revenue stream worth tens of thousands within months. It is important to realize that prior to cloud computing and the commoditization of computing, this would not have been possible. The forces at play are a proven fact.

Opportunities Abound in the Hybrid Service Provider Market

The hybrid service provider market includes a formula of expertise for providers:

    Cloud application expertise. Cloud applications are built to be deployed across the Web, but they still require expertise in selection, setup, configuration, and maintenance. App experts are invaluable to businesses that rely on cloud applications for critical functions. App experts can provide services from their location with ease.
    + On-premise service. Even if all applications and services are cloud based, there is a local element of hardware that may require on premise service. Even if a hard drive is easily replaced, on-site service can re-load data and software. Local contacts will always sell, consult, train, and configure applications and services.
    + Open source expertise and support. Developers can contribute and become experts in open source applications, offering their expertise for consulting and technical support. These become reliable revenue streams as the critical mass of open source software builds in the open market.
    = Hybrid IT is the force of change behind cloud computing. Combining cloud computing with on premise resources and open source leverage, hybrid IT creates opportunity across the globe for entrepreneurs and application experts.

Hybrid IT is a changing force in the global economy. Cloud computing opens enterprise grade applications and service to anyone with a browser. Because cloud computing is browser based, the local computing requirements are reduced to a minimum – a single local server on the network and notebooks.  Combined with excellent open source applications where the only costs are services and support, the cost and complexity of IT management has been greatly reduced by a hybrid of trends, hybrid IT.  The forces of hybrid IT are sweeping the globe, greatly reducing the costs associated with IT and making applications and resource available to everyone.

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You might want to mention Orangescape that ranked among Gartner's Top 10.

Thanks for this and all insightful articles/interviews.

Manish Shyamsukha

Manish Shyamsukha Monday, December 6, 2010 at 8:35 AM PT

The cloud adoption is already underway. Its just the initial hesitation (a typical human mentality) before a change. We are seeing enough clue based on which it can be concluded that the key drivers of cloud computing are already present in the global market….This is the silence before the perfect storm!

Basant Tuesday, December 7, 2010 at 2:08 AM PT