Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Collaboration: Peer-to-Peer Partnership for Growth

Cloud computing - A transformative delivery model
Cloud computing is a transformative delivery model that is changing the way technology vendors, distributors, resellers, and consumers think about, approach, and implement IT systems. What exactly “the cloud” is remains a matter of debate, as there are more than two dozen definitions for cloud computing. Further, how the cloud is applied to the conventional IT channel is relatively uncharted. In this paper, the CompTIA Cloud/SaaS Community will provide basic definitions and core characteristics for cloud computing, and put those definitions into a channel context. The paper is a foundational document designed to give the channel community a baseline reference for describing cloud computing and how it fits with the various constituencies that comprise the channel.

Situation Assessment
Escaping the cloud is almost impossible. Cloud computing—or the delivery of application, platform, and infrastructure via the Internet1 as a service—is transforming the way technology vendors produce and distribute their products, as well as the way enterprises and SMB organizations consume technology. The cloud revolution is more than just “webifying” applications. It is a fundamental shift to a new IT architecture grounded in broad availability, multi-tenancy, shared resources, and dynamic capacity. It’s about changing the entire cost structure of technology from a capital expense to a recurring operational expense. And it’s making technology more accessible, productive, and affordable. And that is driving its rapid adoption.

Cloud computing has morphed from a relatively limited set of Web-based services to a full gamut of business products and models. According to analyst firm Gartner, the cloud computing marketplace will grow from $46.4 billion in 2008 to more than $150 billion by 2013. Gartner predicts that 20 percent of all businesses will own no IT infrastructure by 2012 as they will have been completely transformed into near-total cloud consumers. The hype around cloud computing continues to escalate, making it increasingly difficult to separate the marketing buzz from the true implementations of technology and services via the Internet. Nearly any application or service remotely attached to the Internet is now taking on the cloud as both a descriptor and value proposition. No wonder that 59 percent of end users and 64 percent of the channel say that cloud computing needs clearer definitions, according to a new CompTIA study.

Defining cloud computing is more than an academic exercise; it’s a matter of drafting parameters of understanding among marketplace constituents that produce, support, and consume cloud-based services. Creating this shared business and technical vocabulary helps promote effective commerce among all entities in the cloud computing supply chain. Through clear and concise definitions, producers and consumers of services can develop business strategies, implementation plans, business models, and performance metrics for maximizing the potential of a revolutionary delivery system.

Numerous, often competing definitions for cloud computing exist. Most do a fine job of framing what many consider the core tenants of cloud computing, yet only 24 percent of end users and 29 percent of the channel believe the existing definitions are sufficient.

And even these constituents say that the existing definitions are not consistent, according to the CompTIA study. The leading and most generally accepted definition is the one developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which provides for the essential elements and characteristics of the medium. However, many vendors and solution providers believe there is an opportunity to extend the NIST definition by incorporating the unique needs of the IT reseller and services channel into the model.

The CompTIA Cloud/SaaS Community will affirm the NIST cloud computing definition and extend it to include critical considerations for the channel community. Through these contextualized definitions, we aim to provide the entire channel with a common foundation for framing cloud computing discussions and messaging, business planning and modeling, and sales and marketing execution.

Read Foundational Understanding of Cloud Computing in our next blog.


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