………………….it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way………… ( The rest of the quote )
So OK a bit deep but if youve ever read a Tale of Two Cities you will realise that!!
Cloud computing without doubt is the best of times and most likely rhe worst of times. Let me explain my mind here.
Cloud is where its all at. We enjoy cloud computing. We often dont know that we are ‘doing cloud computing’. We let our fingers and our imagination take us up into the cloud and we are satisfied. We in fact thirst for me and the unlimited pit of knowledge is drawing generations into an ecosystem the scale of which we cannot possibly size up. We all know this of course. So it is the best of times?
Well it is for Joe Public but for corporates ( which is why I do this blog ) it definately represents a tug of war situation between the old and the new. The old is considerably complex. Legacy is only six letters on a page but decades of interoperability, shims, fag packet fixes, sticky tape and the ocassional prayer when all else fails. Legacy is business critical apps that run the show but run on kit that no one has the manual for anymore. Legacy is knowledge in the head of one ageing analyst in the corner who isnt going to be allowed to retire. Legacy is the life blood and when people talk about cloud the old sages will say ‘ah but we have too much legacy to think about cloud computing – yet’. What they really mean is – ever.
But our IT industry isnt unique. People like to moan about the best and worst times. Its human nature and all sorts of industries tell tales of good and bad times. Each wave of fashion or advertising wave brings out the quotes from wise people. Cloud is doing the same. The revolution we are living through happens to all industries and some people like it – some dont.
We see how wonderful cloud was being as a tool to help us socially ( Facebook, Twitter, Ebay ) but on the flip it was the worst of times ( job losses, downtime, loss of control). In decades to come we will probably sit in our rocking chairs and look back at what actually happened. But for now in 2012 we need to balance why we see the best and worst of cloud computing.
Of course the good old favourites like its not secure, or its not mature enough will echo from the ‘the worst of times’ camp. The ‘best of times’ camp will gush superlatives like ‘it has changed my life’ and ‘without cloud we would be out of business’. Believe them? I dont. No one can be totally in favour of one side of this discussion. Cloud is an amazing paradign shift for the world’s economy, but it is only one of hundreeds of cool things out there. In third world countries you would find that mobile communication is the most amazing transformation they have ever experienced. The benefit it has bought them in terms of improving medical response across fast deserts is formidable; but it aslo is being enjoyed during still excessive drought and civil unrest which is undermining peace and economic growth. A good example.
Another one is the impact on young people who will use the cloud for hours a day but perhaps neglect time for their families and studies. Or the loss of social interaction between people travelling together as they choose to listen or watch to cloud delivered content rather than actually talk to each other. I must be sounding really old now – just realised! There are sinister aspects also to cloud as we can all imagine and again in years to come we will define this time in our lives as ‘the best of times; it was the worst of times’.
Dickens’ captured it neatly and I see both sides of a very long fence. It is almost for every good thing in cloud land there is a bad thing. Again though so what? this is what happens and IT is not unique. We just have to get over it and decide if our glass is half full or not.
Time will tell whether it was the ‘very best of times; or the very worst of times’. My vote is that we are in the ‘times that are getting better’ and that ‘we will arrive at even better times soon’. I dont think we can use the word best because that means there is nothing else to follow and for sure cloud is just the start of technological change we cannot even describe because it has not even been thought of yet.
To close therefore I want to change Dicken’s quote to my own “Cloud; it was a really good time in 2012, it got a lot better in 2015 and by 2020 is was really getting better; it was the worst of times for some people caught up in the negatives of cloud and what it meant and even in 2015 it was still worse but by 2020 peoples’ attitudes had changed and people started to see the good in what cloud can bring to them’.
(Quote attributed to Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) was an English writer, generally considered to be the greatest novelist of the Victorian period and responsible for some of English literature’s most iconic novels and characters http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_dickens )