Thursday Jul 24, 2008

It's the business model hombre...

You don't have to look too hard to see examples of businesses that have been impacted as a result of a change in the business model that they served.  One example that is still clear in my mind is the music industry.  There are many empty record store buildings as a result of how the internet has shifted the business model of distribution, sharing and mindset.  The music industry shift continues to this day, but some artists have gotten in front of the change rather than try to resist.  What is the one thing that drives most change?  I'll give you a hint.  It is the most powerful army in the world.  As I learned in business school, military war is plain awful, economic battle is simply brutal.  The perfect storm is when you have a declining economy and a changing business model that implies commodity.  Looking back at change it is easy to understand what happened to the slide rule, floppy disk drives, cathode ray tubes, drive-ins, the home delivery milkman and the home delivery iceman.

There was a lot of discussion about the Amazon S3 outage last Friday.  Some  folks were quick to jump on the cloud computing is dead wagon.  Their probable cause was left to this new storage/compute paradigm is crazy, see what will happen if you buy into this new  IT economy.  Storage has to be expensive.  Come on, it's the only thing expensive left... man.  Of course only start ups and daring enterprises would use such a service.  Well I disagree.  Having been personally involved in outages with previous companies and relying on 27 years of industry experience, it is true that major outages also occur with proprietary server/storage solutions of yesterday. In fact some pretty severe outages and no vendor is excluded.  Cloud computing is not going to go away.  It is only going to get stronger.  Economics will drive it.  New services economically attractive to businesses, individuals, students, etc. will continue to grow it.

As my Dad use to say: "Lead, don't follow."


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The blog of Bob Porras - Vice President, Data, Availability, Scalability & HPC for Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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