While the hype around cloud computing is clearly full steam ahead, we are seeing signs that the amount of new information entering the cloud computing market has slowed down considerably in the last few months.
The lack of new hype and information entering the market, such as waves of new products and buzzwords, is actually a good thing. This means we're getting down to the business of building, deploying, and using cloud computing technology and not spinning like tops to make sure we're relevant in the market.
While Gartner has its own hype cycle that explains this concept, I've come up with my own:
- Stage 1: Consider it as emerging thought
- Stage 2: Get on the bandwagon
- Stage 3: Grab some real estate
- Stage 4: Grow your market share
- Stage 5: Create a cash cow
"Emerging thought" refers to those who assist in the creation of the cloud computing space, or any other emerging spaces for that matter; they who come together on an idea or a concept. This stuff happens all of the time, you just don't hear about most of the concepts because they never seem to catch the hype wave, which is critical to emerging IT tech. In the case of cloud computing, the concept caught wind.
"Get on the bandwagon" refers to what we've been going through during the last year and a half in the cloud computing space. Once technology vendors and consultants see a space emerging and getting a lot of attention, they invest in moving their existing technology and services to the hyped space, this time cloud computing. Moreover, they revamp their marketing to reflect the movement to this space, which I've been calling "cloud washing."
"Grab some real estate" is what I think you'll be seeing in the cloud computing space between now and 2012. As the hype settles down, which it seems to be doing now, it's time to figure out a real strategy for your technology and the niche you'll be addressing. You can't just have a "cloud computing technology"; you need to address a specific purpose, such as security, governance, management, development, deployment, or testing. Those IT pros, consultants, and vendors who don't provide specific strategies around their technology are not going to have credibility in this space.
"Grow your market share" refers to those cloud computing technology vendors actually selling millions of dollars of products to grow their share of the market. During this phase, you'll see a few technologies fall by the wayside -- those that can't make it in the market -- while others drive ahead. Figure we'll only have a few infrastructure and platform cloud providers at the end of this process, considering the investment required and the share of the market they can command.
"Create a cash cow" refers to those cloud providers that make it through the growth of the market, typically absorbing other providers. In this stage, you'll hear very little about cloud computing; indeed we'll have all moved on to other hype-driven things. However, core cloud computing providers at this stage now multibillion-dollar publicly traded companies.
Then, it time to start all over again. I love this business!