The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Where lies the Silver lining?

Jaya Smitha Menon
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Jaya Smitha Menon
When Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google used the phrase ‘cloud computing’ in a search engine conference in 2006, he caused many eyebrows rise. Though his peers and rivals in the industry viewed it with skepticism, they were sure they could not ignore it too. He explained ‘an emergent new model’, which his company had embraced, “It starts with the premise that the data services and architecture should be on servers. We call it cloud computing – they should be in a ‘cloud’ somewhere. And that if you have the right kind of browser or the right kind of access, it doesn’t matter whether you have a PC or a Mac or a mobile phone or a BlackBerry or whatever new devices still to be developed – you can get access to the cloud”.

So what is cloud computing all about? In simple terms it is something we use everyday in our lives. Most of us use Web based email services like Gmail, Yahoomail, or Hotmail or watch a video online or share snaps using photo-hosting services like picasa or flickr or read news online or watch TV shows on the Internet without realizing that we are actually using ‘cloud computing’ services. Most players provide these services for free for individual users; for enterprise users, it’s generally a paid subscription-based model — Google Apps is a good example.

Though it has still a long way to go when it comes to devices other than a PC or a Laptop which Schimdt envisaged, the advocates of cloud computing strongly vouch that cloud computing is poised to succeed where so many other attempts to deliver on-demand computing to anyone with a network connection have failed, thereby dismissing the claims of skeptics that it is just another online fad and rather believe it to be the biggest revolution since the Internet. In fact IDC expects spending on IT cloud services to grow almost three fold, reaching $42 billion by 2012, and accounting for 9 percent of revenues in five key market segments. It is also expected that the cloud adoption trend will be amplified by the current financial crisis. Alok Singh, CEO of Novatium feels that the technology even has the power to kill the dominancy of the giants of the industry and see the emergence of new IT super powers.

While today Amazon, along with Google and SalesForce leads the cloud space, it is interesting to note that inside the labs of the IT companies across the world the engineers are conspiring to understand and leverage this highly potential technology in a manner which ensures maximum ROI. I.Vijayakumar, CTO of Wipro technologies says, “It is not only a new technology, but it is also leading to the evolution of a new commercial model. It has the potential to bring in a paradigm shift to the software industry, as applications are purchased, licensed, and run over the network instead of a user’s desktop. This shift will put data centers and their administrators at the center of the distributed network, as processing power, electricity, bandwidth, and storage are all managed remotely. It affects not only the business models, but the underlying architecture of how we develop, deploy, run, and deliver applications”.

Firms like Dell and IBM are extremely focused on the impending disruptive change that the growth of the cloud services market will bring about. IBM is betting heavily on becoming one of the few true utility providers of technology. Capgemini is taking a focused position as the prime consultant and service integrator in place to plan, sell, implement, and manage the cloud services developed by other firms like Amazon, Google, and Symantec. Firms like Atos Origin, CSC, and Siemens IT Solutions and Services, all offer some cloud services and have the intent to grow their offerings for enterprise clients. These firms are treating cloud more as a key service add-on to their existing portfolios.

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