Cloud Computing is like the AK-47

written by HeidiIsern on March 12, 2012 in Cloud and Interviews with one Comment
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Chris Weitz, Deloitte Director of Technology Strategy and Architecture, is no stranger to technology innovation.  He has over 25 years experience advising global software vendors, hardware companies, service providers, enterprises, and government agencies on disruptive computing solutions.

He is currently focused on all things cloud, claiming it as a major game changer.  In a way, it is disruptive to computing in a way much like the AK-47 changed the military balance across the world . Read on to find out how.

Is Cloud Computing Changing the Balance of Power?

Sophisticated computing isn’t just for large enterprises anymore. “All of a sudden computing is for rent,” said Weitz. “Before you had
to buy and run it by yourself.  Now you can just pay for what you use.”    Cloud computing is part of a “mega-trend” in which business, political, and social power is moving from large institutions to smaller, more agile organizations.

This means that garage start-ups can try out their technologies on a shorter innovation cycle without heavy infrastructure investments.
“The cloud is like the AK-47 – a cheap, effective weapon that is widely available to any small group, which allows them to compete against the world’s most sophisticated organizations on an equal or better footing.  Computing is now available at low costs  at a mass scale,” he said. “With its ability to improve agility and reduce the need for capital expenditures, it’s becoming a competitive differentiator
against the ‘old guard’ tech companies.”

What are the challenges the ‘Old Guard’ Face in Cloud Adoption?

New companies frequently start with a cloud computing model and never look back.  For established tech companies, services providers, and enterprises, however, switching to cloud computing is a big change, and challenge.   “ It becomes a business risk calculation for older companies,” said Weitz. “They have to think through what level of risk they are willing to take to change their business model.”

Transitioning established services to achieving new efficiencies and flexibility with cloud is complex in itself.   Key risk areas also include new issues with data privacy, security, and resiliency, with different risk exposures and tolerances in each industry.  There is also trust issues when it comes to the public versus private cloud.  “You must trust that the vendor‘s security is better than your own.”

Where Does the Cloud Offer the Biggest Potential for Disruption?

“The computing pie is being chopped up by cloud vendors,” Weitz said. He mentioned that servers, storage and networking are all at an
inflexion point, especially as more and more data transfer happens over mobile devices.  “We are gravitating away from corporate data
centers to smart phones.”

Is OpenStack All That?
“OpenStack has potential but it’s still early, like Linux was five to ten  years ago.”  Weitz explained that it might be some time before it
achieves “enterprise class” and has the stability that many large enterprises require.  “If you are a large financial firm you cannot
take the risk of a server failing for a day,” he said.

However Weitz does think that OpenStack can create major opportunities especially in how it affects hardware.  “Companies won’t have to be locked into a specific hardware player and thus can pick from multiple (sometimes cheaper) vendors,” he said. “The market has been over served. Not everyone needs the fancy gold plated options, but rather one that is good enough.”  Thus CIOs are being incented to move away from high-cost best of breed component products, and toward cloud services whose “parts” are unknown and undifferentiated.

If you want to meet Chris Weitz and learn more about what he’s working on he’ll be at our Under the Radar Conference along with other IT
executives on April 26 in Mountain View, Ca.
About Chris Weitz: Chris Weitz is Director of Technology Strategy and Architecture at Deloitte Consulting LLP, and also serves as the global leader in Deloitte’s Cloud Computing practice. He works with clients to develop new computing solutions using leading processes and technology.