• Paul Burgess

The CLOUD is a land grab


The move from batch-based mainframes to 'client/server' in the 1990s were motived by three fundamental motivators:

  • Make money - The real time processing, early internet days, use of relational technologies for analysis and driving better customer experiences.

  • Save money - Everything was cheaper than an IBM mainframe. But it wasn't just about the direct cost, the people and software costs on top of the check to IBM. Plus the evolution of symmetric multiprocessing for compute, the relational technologies, multi-tiered computing and the advent of 'packed apps' like SAP, Peoplesoft were driving significant shifts and increased uses of technology to drive business.

  • Have to - All those old apps running on IBM mainframes and AS/400s were not written for the 21st century. Thus the stampede to something better so when 1/1/00 comes around, the business or government were continue. This the 'Y2K' bug was all the news.

Thus the shift from the 1st computing platform to a 2nd.

20 years later (2021 and beyond) and:

  • Mobile: The internet is everywhere (including in our hand).

  • Compute: The amount of compute on a single CPU socket from Intel would be considered the fasted supercomputer in the world in 1999.

  • Network: The internet and wifi and 5G are paramount to society's operations

  • DevOps: The programming and development paradigm bring incremental evolution to empower everything faster - new features are available in 1 quarter versus 1 year.

  • Cybersecurity: As a James Bond fan, in 'Skyfall' the new, younger 'Q' summed up the modern world perfectly in a comment to Commander Bond:

  • "Well, I'll hazard I can do more damage on my laptop sitting in my pajamas before my first cup of Earl Grey than you can do in a year in the field."


Suddenly those physical data centers become a burden and the need to be more nimble is all the rage. But the presence and need for physical servers goes not go away, it is now shifted into the regions and zones defined by cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft Azure and Google.

These vendors are now the new power-brokers of the world because of the 'cloud' - and their market values show it (as of December 16, 2021)

  • Amazon is worth $1.7 trillion

  • Microsoft is worth $2.5 trillion

  • Google is worth $2 trillion

Add to this the other Software-as-a-service players who are also part of this new 3rd platform:

  • Salesforce is worth $250 billion

  • ServiceNow is worth $120 billion

  • Workday is worth $68 billion

  • Snowflake is worth over $100 billion

For all these companies to defend their valuations and grow and be that 'data center alternative', the amount of effort being exerted is nothing less than amazing. It has also pivoted the jobs and roles in an organization's IT organization - moving to a greater focus on outward facing work for the LOB and less inward to keep systems running properly.


What you should do:

  • It is still about the data: Take that 'cloud first' mind-set to the next level in how you integrate systems and data. Do not copy, consider a more 'mesh' or 'fabric' approach.

  • Multi-Platform: Take a multi-cloud approach and make sure you negotiate those 'egress' network fees way down. That is their lock-in approach to keep you.

  • Shared pain: AWS has had two major failures recently and make your cloud contracts make them feel pain if they effect your business.

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