The term "cloud" has different meanings to different people. It's so broadly defined with so many meanings that it really does not mean much at all.
However, several cloud concepts are gaining more interest, whether in cloud contexts or not. By focusing on these concepts, rather than the more general notion of cloud computing, you can get more value in your organization's technology, cloud and otherwise. Three concepts in particular stand out: devops, management and governance, and data analytics.
Devops (development and operations) is a software development process and sets of technology that provide an agile relationship between development and IT operations. The objective of devops is to change and improve the relationship by advocating better communication and collaboration between the two organizations.
Devops is cloud-related because it typically uses a single, unified development, testing, and deployment environment that relies on holistic configuration management. This usually means some cloud-based development environments that use tools such as Puppet and Chef.
When implemented properly — which includes training the people —devops is pretty effective. Although it rises from the use of cloud-based platforms, the concept has value all on its own.
Management and governance, such as that implemented by cloud management platforms, is the concept of placing an abstraction layer between those who use resources (cloud or not) and those who manage those resources. This notion has a much larger value than the cloud itself because it lets you provide a set of services that removes the complexity of both enterprise-based computer resources and the resources in private and public clouds.
Finally, there's big data analytics. This concept uses huge amounts of data to find out new answers. Although data analytics may typically entail cloud-based resources, such as using the massive scalability of public clouds, the concept transcends cloud computing, as does its value. As I pointed out last week, this concept has begun to explode in the form of data as a service.
Does this mean the concept of "cloud" no longer has value? Of course not. It only means we're taking concepts from the cloud that benefit enterprise IT as a whole. This makes cloud computing much more valuable as a platform for innovation, not just for compute and storage.
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