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A friend of mine, an IT director, had met me for lunch and he dropped this little bomb of a line while we ate.








"The great thing about all this cloud hype is that the whole ITIL hype has died down, which means we can stop doing ITIL."








I was so stunned that I didn't know what to say. I'm one of those folks who can think of really effective, pointed, snarky replies to people - about a week and half after the moment passes. At the time, I wanted to take my soup spoon and whack him on the side of the head. It's a few weeks later and I still want to whack him on the head. In fact, I stole the soup spoon and I'm carrying it around with me so that the next time I see him, I remember to do it.





Yes, there's a lot of hype about cloud. In fact, it might be one of the contenders for all time most hyped IT buzzwords. And ITIL and its related hype would at least be an honorable mention.








But come on, folks! Push aside all the cloud and ITIL hype and there is some really wonderful, valuable stuff here! For you as IT people, as well as those business people who are your customers. (And, in case you've forgotten, the whole point of IT is not to run at five 9s stability. The point of IT is to provide the IT services necessary to help business processes be efficient. And if business requires the five 9s, then do it. Otherwise, settle for a few less 9s. It's a LOT cheaper and a lot less work.)








ITIL brings us a set of process guidelines designed to help IT follow a best practices approach to defining, planning, managing and operating IT services that meet our customers' needs. It also gives us a framework for communicating "what the heck IT is doing" in the language of business. If we use Cloud as an excuse for ignoring or abandoning consistency and efficiency in how IT is run generally, then all I can say is, please let me know what company you work for and I'll adjust my investment portfolio accordingly to exclude your company.








Oh, and by the way, after weeks of perfecting it, here's my carefully considered response to my director friend: "Oh, yeah?"


To weigh in, comment below! I'll begrudgingly read your thoughts. To suggest a rant - email me at

The Cloud Disappears

Posted by Cloud Curmudgeon Jan 20, 2011

Before Christmas, I wrote a post on explaining the cloud to your grandmother. It’s amazing how often I sent that link out to friends and family – and even on Facebook – because people kept coming back to me with “What is this cloud of which they speak?” It’s nice to have that sort of attention, but most people will never really directly interact with the cloud. At least, knowingly.


Why? Well, the whole point of cloud is that it disappears. Success is derived from ubiquity. And ubiquity means transparency. The cloud – and the flexibility it enables – will become common requirements of technological life. Previous technologies that followed this path include:

  • Network connectivity
  • Graphical interfaces
  • Math co-processors (wow, that takes me back. Raise your hand if you had a 386 SX?!)
  • Email


A bunch of newer technologies are now moving down this path of ubiquity, like:

  • Touch screens
  • Wireless signal
  • Audio communications through almost any endpoint


These are fairly consumer-oriented examples – since referencing the birth and progress of the CMDB is tedious stuff. But, enterprise technologies do follow the same pattern. And if things go according to plan, cloud-based flexibility, whether internal, hybrid, or public, will be baked into every offering. You’ll never know when things grow or shrink, move or stay, boot or suspend. It will all just be part of the environment.


As a cloud grump, it gives me great pleasure that the pithy metaphors will eventually go away. As a technologist, this eventuality excites me. And as a member of broader society, I’ll be thrilled when everyone stops asking me what this cloud thing is… and I can just answer “it’s in there.”


To weigh in, comment below! I'll begrudgingly read your thoughts. To suggest a rant - email me at

How Big Is The Cloud?

Posted by Cloud Curmudgeon Jan 13, 2011

Lately, perhaps due to the changing of the year and the prognostications it arbitrarily seems to require, I've been getting a lot of queries regarding the marketing size of cloud. Often, they are not any further defined: What is the market opportunity for cloud?


Since my new years' resolution is to rant more openly in blogs and less frequently at individuals, I've tried not to respond with my instinctive "that sentence doesn't even mean anything!!" reply, sensing that it doesn't tend to win me any friends. But, this curtailing of my heartfelt emotion has me bursting at the curmudgeonly seams. So, I'd like to clarify the source of the pain...


We all know there are numerous types of clouds. Private, Public, SaaSy, etc. To me, you can credibly ask the questions:


  • What is the market opportunity for business applications in a SaaS model? Or any other subset of applications, delivered in a SaaS model.
  • What is the market for externally-hosted development services in a PaaS model? And then, you can break it up by .Net and LAMP.
  • What is the market for management tools that govern the behavior of a public cloud, whether it's SaaS, PaaS, IaaS or WaaS? (I made that last one up)
  • What is the market for management tools that govern the behavior of a private cloud? And then, you can break it up by industry.


These are all legitimate questions - and I'm sure there are actually plenty more. Do let me know if you find the answers - most analyst firms haven't put that stake in the ground, and I don't blame them. The biggest challenge, in my mind, is that all forms of cloud are unleashing a tremendous amount of pent up IT demand, and thus the market is much greater than the pre-cloud market for the same type of technology.


Even if you had all these subcomponents, you can't roll all these up into one "Total Cloud Market". Why? Because you're mixing apples and oranges, and creating the impression that the market is a single market. Enterprises are buying from service providers. Enterprises are buying from management solutions companies. Developers are buying from Service Providers. Service providers are buying from management solutions companies. We're talking about an entire ecosystem.


The equivalent would be to ask the size of the car market, and then, starting with total auto sales, add in "total engine block sales" and "total car stereo sales" and "total automotive sheet metal sales." You're double-counting and under-counting at the same time.


How big is the cloud? The pie is big enough for everyone to have a piece. Bring your forks, and root for lemon meringue.


To weigh in, comment below! I'll begrudgingly read your thoughts. To suggest a rant - email me at