Will IT culture kill Cloud?

The doctors are circling.   My Gartner colleague Lydia Leong has an interesting Cloud prescription, ‘to become like a cloud provider, fire everyone here,’  and industry watchers are picking up the message.

In her post, Lydia describes a Cloud conversation with corporate IT stakeholders and diagnosing:

“If you’re going to operate like a cloud provider, you will need to be willing to fire almost everyone in this room.”


Of course, organizational inertia will often prevent mass re-organization, and I wonder if IT executives will astutely realize their cloud transformations are dying because of IT culture and organizational misalignment, rather than Cloud immaturity.

 from GigaOm has picked up on Lydia’s post and played out the scenario. Derrick asks  “Will cultural pushback kill private clouds?  Derrick identifies a end game whereby private cloud won’t live up to the hype:

“because it means private cloud computing looks more like a wasted opportunity than an IT revolution. It looks a lot more like Virtualization 2.o than Amazon Web Services. Provisioning resources might be a smoother process, and maybe application development is easier, but IT departments themselves are still inflexible and inefficient.”

I have personally seen many organizations squander opportunity and revolution while pursuing Service Oriented Architecture roadmaps.  I started following Cloud in 2008 based on a personal desire to apply cultural change practices learned in the SOA days.   Cloud has excellent promise at meeting business stakeholder demand by offloading commoditized IT activities and releasing capital and human resources.  Unfortunately, some organizations may continue to hug their servers, continue old-school practices, and not re-think DevOps.

Lydia’s post describes how a viable adoption approach may include starting

“a fresh new environment with a new philosophy, perhaps a devops philosophy, with all the joy of having a greenfield deployment, and simply begin deploying new applications into it. Leave legacy IT with the mess, rather than letting the morass kill every new initiative that’s tried.”

I had an interesting conversation today with a Fortune 20 bank about private Cloud, and the organization is all-in.   The bank’s corporate IT stakeholders are smart, motivated, and open minded.  But as they evolve their environment, they are still thinking about infrastructure components (e.g. nodes, images, machines, storage devices) and legacy application practices.  I quickly pitched the concept of ‘leaky PaaS’, ‘service subscription rather than provisioning’,’hiding topology details from developers’, and ‘allowing architects to focus on service levels rather than environment tuning’.  The concepts are a game changer defining Cloud architecture and Platform as a Service from a developer’s perspective.  WSO2 Stratos is an early demonstration of these leading concepts.

Related posts:

Cloud dimensions: Sharing, responsibility, and risk

Platform as a Service Evaluation Framework


Ghost in the Machine:  SLA aware Cloud load balancing and lazy deployment






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