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What Is Driving Cloud Computing?

An exclusive Q&A with John A. De Goes, CEO & Founder of Precog

"In some segments, the price of cloud computing will go up as providers offer higher-end solutions designed to cater to complex enterprise requirements," observed John A. De Goes, CEO & Founder of Precog, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. "However," De Goes continued, "in most segments, and for any fixed set of features, the price of computing, bandwidth, storage will go down in inflation-adjusted dollars, concurrent with advances in hardware, software, and efficiency, all driven by competitive pressures."

Cloud Computing Journal: Just having the enterprise data is good. Extracting meaningful information out of this data is priceless. Agree or disagree?

John A. De Goes: Far too many companies pat themselves on the back for having terabytes or petabytes of data. But data has no intrinsic value, and maintaining the infrastructure necessary to capture and warehouse data has very real costs. Data by itself doesn't give you any competitive advantage. It's only if you act on that data that you can drive more revenue and secure competitive advantages.

I wouldn't call that priceless, but it's clear to me that the winners of the 21st century will be data-driven companies capable of both using data to improve internal business processes, and using data to build smarter, more insightful products that secure competitive advantages through their intelligent use of data.

Cloud Computing Journal: Forrester's James Staten: "Not everything will move to the cloud as there are many business processes, data sets and workflows that require specific hardware or proprietary solutions that can't take advantage of cloud economics. For this reason we'll likely still have mainframes 20 years from now." Agree or disagree?

De Goes: In 20 years, there will probably still be a couple of computers running Windows 95. While likely true, these kinds of predictions are useless because they don't reflect a holistic picture of the future. Economics is actually not the most significant factor driving cloud computing. At a raw technical level, cloud computing is happening because Moore's Law broke, bandwidth and connectivity are increasing, and we are trying to solve harder and harder problems that involve more and more data. Technology has changed the rules of the game, and "mainframes" are relics of a bygone era. Even breakthroughs such as molecular or quantum computers would only perturb the current course of IT slightly.

Cloud Computing Journal: The price of cloud computing will go up - so will the demand. Agree or disagree or....?

De Goes: In some segments, the price of cloud computing will go up as providers offer higher-end solutions designed to cater to complex enterprise requirements. However, in most segments, and for any fixed set of features, the price of computing, bandwidth, storage will go down in inflation-adjusted dollars, concurrent with advances in hardware, software, and efficiency, all driven by competitive pressures. Demand for cloud services will continue to rise for the foreseeable future, but supply will rise at roughly the same rate.

Cloud Computing Journal: Rackspace is reporting an 80% growth from cloud computing, Amazon continues to innovate and make great strides, and Microsoft, Dell and other big players are positioning themselves as big leaders. Are you expecting in the next 18 months to see the bottom fall out and scores of cloud providers failing or getting gobbled up by bigger players? Or what?

De Goes: We're not there yet. The market is expanding so fast, I wouldn't expect massive consolidation just yet. Not in the next 18 months. There's enough of the pie to go around.

Cloud Computing Journal: Please name one thing that - despite what we all may have heard or read - you are certain is NOT going to happen in the future, with Cloud and BigData? ;-)

De Goes: There is a pervasive myth, propagated by a wave of over-hyped startups, that tools focused on Big Data insights will remove the need for hardcore data scientists who are skilled in analytics, statistics, and machine learning. We are light years away from that pie-in-the-sky utopia. If anything, it's the companies who have the deepest backgrounds in data science who stand to benefit the most from the era of Big Data.

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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