I hope those who know me wouldn’t peg me as an alarmist. So take my title with a grain of salt but also, because of that same optimism, with a sense of sobriety.
I’ve followed “cloud computing” for a while (before it was called that), most often in the context of Amazon. From my position, it’s been really interesting to see the growth and dead-ends of this shift. And although in some ways it represents an outside disruptive force for my job, in others it’s a technology and mindset I’m trying to drive internally and externally.
My analogy for my job is that I help design, edit and publish “books” but never write one of my own, so some of my perspectives are gleaned second hand without the heat and intensity of battle. Yet, I’m also keen to learn from other’s failures (and successes) so I do my best to leverage the examples others provide.
SmugMug is a photo sharing site that’s been a big champion (and occasional critic) of Amazon’s services and despite seeing their use of them as a competitive advantage they’ve been very open about their practices. Recently they described how they’ve built a very successful workflow around these concepts and I think you should give it a read.
There’s a tangible shift in computing that I don’t think has been felt in more traditional environments. Certainly enterprise IT is used to hearing fads fall to the floor, anyone remember “The Mainframe is dead”? But it’s also very easy to point to successful companies like SmugMug and claim they’re not enterprise players.
However, consider Amazon (or Google) and remember they don’t just provide this stuff for fun. It’s what they themselves use internally for their “day jobs” and that it’s because of these same services and not in spite of them, that they’ve reached their current heights.
Time will only tell if they can hold these lofty positions, but my belief is that the future’s in the clouds.